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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Welcome to Blogathon Canada Day 2 in Atlantic Canada


Hello! Welcome to Blogathon Canada! My name is Linda and I'm honored to be one of your hosts for Day 2 in Atlantic Canada, along with Linda at Scrapmaster. There are so many exciting things going on today! First of all be sure to stop by Sew Sisters, the Blogathon sponsor, to enter today's giveaway of goodies from Camelot Fabrics. Remember to check back at Sew Sisters each day this week, for a new giveaway! There are wonderful prizes to be won! Don't miss out.

"Blue Northwind" - generous twin size
Below is a list of links to other blogs in Atlantic Canada that I encourage you to stop by and visit, and of course I have an exciting giveaway too! But first let me tell you a bit about myself.

I've been sewing since the age of 12, quilting for over 25 years, and teaching quilting classes at local quilt shops and for Guilds for almost as long. I am a retired school teacher, and I have to say, teaching quilting classes is more fun!! For a little sample of my "teaching", you'll find two tutorials on my sidebar; I hope to add more in the future.

"Talkin' Turkey,"  a Bonnie Hunter design




 I love everything about the quilt-making process, especially choosing the  fabrics (I love color!) and piecing the tops. For me the journey, the "process", is more important than the destination. Scrap quilts are a particular favourite right now.

I've been blogging for almost 6 years and am so grateful for the many wonderful friends I have made through this blog.



"Not Quite Civil Pineapple", 8.75" sq.



 Lately I've been bitten by the "Miniatures bug" and I enjoy the challenge of seeing how small I can go, while still being absolutely precise in the piecing. (Some people think I'm crazy, I'm sure.) Actually I do enjoy Crazy Quilting too! You can see my Miniatures and Crazy Quilting in the Galleries on my sidebar. This miniature is 8.75" square and has nearly 450 pieces. It's one of my "garbage can quilts" - made with scraps anyone else would throw in the garbage. Not me! If it's larger than 1/2" square, I save it! (Did I already say some think I'm crazy?) Miniatures is one of my most favourite classes to teach.




 I hope you'll spend a little time looking around my blog. You can see more of my quilts by clicking on the "My Quilts" and "Small Projects" labels. You'll notice that quilting is not my only hobby. I am also a stitcher, a gardener, an avid reader and a photographer. So you'll find some gardening posts, book reviews, the occasional tried and true recipe, and lots of photography. I hope you'll return to visit me again, and I'd be very happy if you chose to "follow" my blog!









Now, on to some other bloggers in my area. I know some of these gals in person, and look forward to getting to know the others. After visiting them, don't forget to come back to enter my giveaway!

Marjorie's Busy Corner

Through My Window 

Judy Cooper Textile Images

Quilt, Knit, Run, Sew

Devoted Quilter

One Mother of a Blog

Quilti

Sister of the Brush 

A Pictorial Quilter's Journey 

The Q and the U

Cool Cats

It Is what It Is!

Love to Quilt

Fredericton Quilters' Guild

Cotton Mill Quilt Guild

Elm City Quilt Guild 

Now, on to my Giveaway of a luscious batik Fat Quarter Bundle, courtesy of Sew Sisters. (Naturally it is blue, my favourite color!) It is open to everyone, no matter where you live, and there are no hoops to jump through and no word verification. Just leave me a comment below ON THIS POST and tell me where you are visiting from. That's it! Easy peasy. There is one tiny catch though- you must have an email address. If you are a No Reply blogger, a WordPress blogger or you don't have a google account, you must leave your email address in your comment, otherwise I cannot reach you, should you be the lucky one drawn! The Giveaway remains open until midnight Nov. 23, the winner will be drawn and announced on Nov. 24. I will email the winner.

Finally, don't forget to visit my host partner today, Linda at Scrapmaster. She, too, has a wonderful Giveaway for you to enter, and more great Maritime bloggers for you to visit. 

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy Blogathon Canada the rest of this week - each day two host bloggers will have giveaways and a list of other blogs for you to visit! Now how great is that! I know you'll want to join me in saying "Thanks Sew Sisters!"

Piece!
Linda

"Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold."
~ Joseph Parry

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blogathon Canada Day 1

Today is the first day of Blogathon Canada 2014. Today's hosts, Stacey of  Stacey in Stitches and Jessica of Momiji Studio are in British Columbia. You'll want to visit both of them to see their wonderful quilts, surf their blogs and enter their giveaways. On their posts you'll see a list of other B.C. quilting bloggers, so there are lots of new blogs to visit and new friends to make! And of course don't forget to visit Sew Sisters, the Blogathon host, to enter their daily giveaway (click here), today's sponsor is Aurifil.

Tomorrow, Blogathon Canada moves across the country and comes to Altlantic Canada, where I'll be hosting, along with Linda of Scrapmaster. (Yes, tomorrow is "Linda Day"! lol)  Be sure to come back tomorrow and visit us - we'll both have awesome giveaways with prizes provided by Sew Sisters, and a list of Maritime blogs for you to visit. By the way the giveaways are open to everyone - Sew Sisters will ship anywhere in the world. All you need is an email address to comment and enter. More on that tomorrow.

It's snowing here today, and although it's been melting all morning, it's now starting to accumulate. Ugh. I know winter IS coming, before long we'll be looking at a white world, which I guess is better than November's dull neutral palette of browns and greys. Neutrals are great in quilting - we need them! But I find November to be such a dreary and uninspiring month.. good thing we have Christmas-y greens and reds to brighten things up!  :)

Remember to come back and visit me tomorrow! Until then...keep stitching!!

Piece!
Linda

"Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them."
~ Francesco Guicciardini

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Rug for my Mug

I have a very small "finish" to share with you today. Last week for my "Start to Finish" class, I needed something to use for demo-ing how to do a proper binding with mitred corners. Since I didn't have a project ready for binding, I decided to just make up something small. What to do? While looking at someone else's blog, I saw Mug Rugs. The perfect thing! Small AND quick!! (For those of you who have never heard of a mug rug- it's basically just an oversized coaster- large enough to set your mug and a few cookies on...) Can you believe I had never made a Mug Rug?!!
Using selvages is another popular "thing" these days - something else I've never done. So I thought maybe I'd combine the two. When I started looking through my Christmas-y fabrics (which, surprisingly I don't have many of) very few had interesting selvages. I found one with lots of color dots and I did use it on this "prototype" but decided I'd save the rest in case I make a few more of these.
I had no idea what size to make the Mug Rug, it seems they vary in size, and I didn't want mine too large as I usually use a small mug anyway. I had some  scraps of Stiff Stuff ™ to use for the batting so the width of those scraps determined the size. I simply chose some scraps and a few already cut strips of Christmas fabrics and a red and green or two, and quickly stitched up the top (stitch and flip method, right through the Stiff Stuff™), then layered and quilted in the ditch with  a red metallic thread for a little sparkle. Not bad for 15 minutes work. I chose a nice bright red polkadot for the binding, and it was the perfect size for a demo for the class.
So there it is - finished. It measures 4.5" by 7.5". Of course I needed some cookies as "models" for the photo shoot, and I haven't done any Christmas baking yet. So I had to go to the Goody Shop (local bakery) for a few Almond Fingers. Oh, the sacrifices I make for this blog!!  wink wink
So if you're looking for a quick and easy something for a small gift for someone, why not make them a  Mug Rug or two. Of course you can get fancier than I did, and do some appliqué or what have you. A couple of years ago a member of our Guild brought in some sweet ones she had made. Barb pieced a very simple tree (triangle with a trunk) then used the color dot selvages to "trim" the trees diagonally like garland. Now how cute would that be??!!

Piece!
Linda

I'm working on my PhD in quilting - Projects Half Done!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wrapped in Rain (the book, not the weather)

Another recent book finish, Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin, is a beautifully written story. It will tug at your heart strings as you laugh, cry and shake your head. Brothers Tucker and Mutt Mason grew up in rural Alabama with a cruel, abusive, alcoholic father who was far more concerned with making money than paying any attention to them. Their only mother-figure was their black housekeeper, Miss Ella Rain, the middle aged childless widowed granddaughter of a slave. Despite suffering frequent beatings at the hands of their father, and a minimum wage salary, Miss Rain sacrificed her own life to ensure the safety and proper upbringing of the boys, and loved them as if they were her own.
Years later, Tucker, now an internationally famous photographer, returns home to the large southern estate where he grew up, to find that his brother Mutt has escaped from the mental hospital where he has been living. He must decide whether or not to place Mutt in a more secure facility. When an old girlfriend shows up with a black eye and a young son in tow, Tucker feels he must stick around and try to come to terms with his painful past, while dealing with the present challenges. Can he forgive his father? Can he help his schizophrenic brother Mutt calm his obsessive fears and the voices in his head? Although Miss Ella is long gone, Tucker can still hear her guiding voice, telling him what is right and wrong. Can she somehow help him find forgiveness and peace at last?
This is the first book by New York Times best-selling author Martin I have read (but it won't be the last.) His strength is his descriptive writing. His characters are detailed and vivid, and you as the reader feel as if you know them intimately; you can't help but care about them. They stay with you long after you've read the final page...

Peace,
Linda

"Tucker, I want to tell you a secret." Miss Ella curled my hand into a fist and showed it to me. "Life is a battle, but you can't fight it with your fists. You got to fight it with your heart." ~ Charles Martin, Wrapped in Rain

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget

Today, November 11, we honour our war dead, soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice by giving their lives for our freedom. With the recent acts of violence in our country, the murder of three RCMP officers and wounding of two others in Moncton in June, and the killing of two soldiers in  Quebec and Ottawa a few short weeks ago, let us be even more grateful to those who serve our country every day and keep us safe, and let's continue to pray for peace in this crazy world we live in.
Lest We Forget.
Look closely at this poppy - do you see the shadow of the soldier on the right - standing with his pack and helmet on? I took this photo last July in a friend's garden...


Remember Me
(The voice of the dead)


Remember me
Duty called and I went to war
Though I'd never fired a gun before
I paid the price for your new day
As all my dreams were blown away

Remember me
We all stood true as whistles blew
And faced the shell and stench of Hell
Now battle's done, there is no sound
Our bones decay beneath the ground
We cannot see, or smell, or hear
There is no death, or hope or fear

Remember me
Once we, like you, would laugh and talk
And run and walk and do the things that you all do
But now we lie in rows so neat
Beneath the soil, beneath your feet

Remember me
In mud and gore and the blood of war
We fought and fell and move no more
Remember me, I am not dead
I'm just a voice within your head


~Harry Riley

Peace,
Linda

"If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace." ~John Lennon


Monday, November 10, 2014

A Finish to Start the Week

A "finish" feels good anytime, but it feels great to start the week off with a finish! Here is the finished set of four placemats that I started a few weeks ago. Two were completed then and I used the other two for demo-ing  in my "Start to Finish" class on Saturday at the
Christmas Crab Quiltery, and finished them up  yesterday. As I've said before, I really like this pattern, called Take Four Placemats. (If you can't find it in your local quilt shop, it is available for download and purchase here.) I think I just might have to make a set (or two) of these with Christmas fabrics too! My tutorial on an easy method of finishing placemats has been very popular, and it is now listed on my sidebar too!
Our class went very well. The first time you teach a particular class you just never know how it will go, time-wise. I was very pleased that they got as far as they did on assembling the four mats. Although I do not bind placemats, I also taught them how to do a proper binding, with mitred corners, so they have all the basic skills now for doing a simple project, from the fabric prep and cutting, to the final step of binding.  :) As Martha would say, "It's a good thing!"
We also had a good chat about "doing your best." One of the gals said she was somewhere in a group and another lady accused her, in a very condescending tone, of being "a perfectionist" (as if it was a bad thing...??!!) She told her accuser that she always tries to do her best so she can be proud of her work. I would have done the same thing; I too have high standards for myself and always try to do my very best work. If I'm not happy with how something has turned out, and I think I could do better, I'll take it out and re-do it. (On the other hand, we are all our own worst critics and it's silly to spend precious time obsessing over a tiny detail that others will never notice. Will it be seen from twenty paces on a galloping horse? Do your best, then move on and know you'll do even better the next time.)
I suspect the "accuser" was a "slap-dash - that's good enough" sort, and perhaps she was a wee bit jealous of the fine work she was being shown. What do you think?
This little story reminded me of the saying below... I can still hear my mother saying it to me...

Piece!
Linda

Good, better, best,
Never let it rest
'Til your good is better,
And your better, best !


Friday, November 7, 2014

Personal Photo Challenge - Trees

 It's time again for the monthly Personal Photo Challenge. It's been a few months since I've participated so I'm happy to get back to it! It seems I've had little time this fall for photography, other things have kept me occupied, but all fall I had this month's theme of trees on my mind. Both of these shots were taken on the same day, late in the afternoon within minutes of each other. I was tired after a day of teaching a workshop, and just wanted to get on the highway for my 2.5 hour drive home. As I drove out of town towards the highway I spied this tree in a cemetery and knew that I had to pull over to take a few photos.  I do not know what type of tree it is, but if one was trying to make a cemetery look creepy, this would be a good choice of species, don't you think? I boosted the colour saturation just slightly and gave it the dark edges to increase it's "spooky" look. What a great tree and setting this would be on Hallowe'en night if one was setting up a Spooky Walk for children.... This photo was taken in Amherst Nova Scotia.

A very short time later, I pulled off the highway to grab a quick bite for supper, and then treated myself to a cone of icecream. As I drove out of Sackville NB, I passed through the campus of Mount Allison University and this beautiful pond where swans and ducks were feeding. This beautiful maple caught my eye. Again, I quickly pulled over, slung my purse over one shoulder and camera over the other, dripping icecream cone still in hand. You would have laughed to see me trying to get this photo "one-handed" as I tried to find a "clean" spot (free of duck poo) to kneel in the grass...  The student who was taking a brief break from her studies and catching the last rays of late afternoon sun under that glorious maple took me right back to my student days...  I wish the sky had been bluer, the sun hadn't disappeared behind cloud just as I got out of the car, and that blasted pole was not front and centre - these would have improved the photo - but I did the best I could. And I left with only two spots of duck poo on my knee, and melted icecream all over my camera strap... lol

Be sure to visit Donna's Personal Photo Challenge here to see the wonderful creative efforts of other participants.




Peace,
Linda

"Not everybody trusts paintings, but people believe photographs." ~ Ansel Adams

Off to a Quilt Show

What's better than going to a quilt show?  Going to a LOCAL quilt show!! When you can be there fondling fabric and admiring quilts within 15 minutes of your own studio...well ya just gotta love that! There are three quilters' guilds here in my small city, and this weekend one of those guilds, Elm City QG is holding a show. The quilts are displayed in the sanctuary of a church, laid over the pews. You have to agree, there's not many things more beautiful than a church full of quilts, now is there?
So I know you want to see what I saw...here you go. I took very few individual shots, it tends to be a bit more challenging when they are displayed in this manner and you can only see a portion of many of them. So I hope you'll be happy with these "overall" shots...





Brown totebag by Kathy Feltmate, miniatures by Bertha Mazerolle and Dora Martin and fall runner by Marg Routledge
Miniatures by Joyce Newman
It's a wonderful show! Thanks Elm City quilters!

Piece!
Linda

Our souls are fed by needle and thread...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Novembrrrrr


 Leaves

How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow.

~ Elsie N. Brady

November has arrived with its dreary hues of grey and brown. The days grow shorter, the cold weather is moving in with its foggy mornings, its killing frosts. So many trees now stand bare, bracing against the blustery winds, their leaves lying in a soggy mat, their crisp crunchiness gone with October's vibrant color. We've already had our first snow, our first nor'easter. And another is on the way, with this last one barely melted away. Sigh... we have to face the reality of winter coming. No wonder I tend to retreat to my studio where all I have to do is flip a switch for bright cheery light, and look at my palette of fabric for a rainbow of colour!
I've been busy getting things ready for my class this Saturday, and doing a little prep work for a few Christmas projects. Of course I can't show you those yet, as they will be gifts. You'll have to be patient, my lovelies! Stay tuned! I'll have a few small projects to show soon.  :)

Piece!
Linda

“But there is always a November space after the leaves have fallen when she felt it was almost indecent to intrude on the woods…for their glory terrestrial had departed and their glory celestial of spirit and purity and whiteness had not yet come upon them.”  ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars



Monday, November 3, 2014

Blogathon Canada

Today I have an exciting announcement to make! A few days ago, I told you to watch for more info on Blogathon Canada which is coming up November 17-22. Well, today I can finally tell you I will be one of the hosts for this blogathon! Linda, who blogs at Scrapmaster, and I will be sharing "hosting duties" for the atlantic provinces on Tuesday Nov. 18.
This is the third year for Blogathon Canada, sponsored by Sew Sisters Quilt Shop in Toronto. This year will be bigger and better than ever! So, are you wondering "Just what is Blogathon Canada?" It's a week long celebration of Canadian quilting bloggers: a way to connect, find new blogs, make new friends, AND win some amazing prizes! (Who doesn't like to win prizes??!!) Sew Sisters will have sponsored giveaways on their blog during the week, so you'll want to be sure to visit there to check out those giveaways from these wonderful sponsors: Aurifil, Northcott fabrics, Robert Kaufman fabrics, Timeless Treasures and Camelot Fabrics!






Woo-hoooo! You just know the giveaway prizes from these sponsors will. be. awesome!

Here's how it works- Each day host bloggers will introduce themselves and their work on their blogs -  the schedule is below. They will include links to more blogs in their province(s) so you can visit those blogs as well. Each hosting blogger will have a giveaway of goodies from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop. (Just wait till you see what I have chosen for you! Oooooh, you're going to love it!!) So - you'll have a chance to win every day of the week! How great is that?! And the giveaways are open to EVERYONE! Sew Sisters will ship internationally! 

Would you like to join the party? If you'd like for the host blogger from your province, territory or area to link your blog in her post, email Sew Sisters at connect@sew-sisters.com and they will add your blog to the list. Please note, you must live in Canada, and your blog should have posts about quilting or crafting to be eligible. Linda and I will be linking to blogs in all of Atlantic Canada - NB, NS, PEI and NL.

Here is the schedule for the hosts:

Monday          Nov.17       BC                  Stacey         Stacey in Stitches
Monday          Nov.17       BC                  Jessica        Momiji Studio
Tuesday          Nov.18       Maritimes       Linda          Scrapmaster
Tuesday          Nov.18       Maritimes       Linda          Stitch Lines   (that's me!)
Wednesday     Nov.19       AB                  Kelsey        Everyday Fray
Wednesday     Nov.19       AB                  Leanne        She Can Quilt
Thursday        Nov.20       SK                  Heather       Peace. Love. Quilt
Thursday        Nov.20       MB                 Lori             Night Owl Quilting
Friday            Nov.21       QC                  Josée           The Charming Needle
Friday            Nov.21       Territories      Janet            Caribou Crossing Chronicles
Saturday        Nov.22        ON                 Lorna           Sew Fresh Quilts
Saturday        Nov.22        ON                 Sandy          Upstairs Hobby Room

So, be sure to mark Blogathon Canada on your calendar so you can visit lots of new-to-you Canadian quilting bloggers! And be sure to come back and visit me on the 18th, although I certainly hope you'll return before then!  :)

Piece!
Linda

"I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship." ~ Brené Brown

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What I'm Reading...

I recently read The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley. Hmmmm, I should have posted this review yesterday ... for Hallowe'en... Shadowy Horses, get it? Sounds a bit spooky, don'cha think? Well at least I'm using my spooky spidery mug for my coffee today while I write this review... This is the fifth book by Kearsley I have read now... guess you can figure out that I like her style! What can I say? She can tell a tale!
Kearsley has a knack for drawing you into a story very quickly. Her characters are so real, vivid and believable, her settings are "well painted". This one takes place in a small coastal village in Scotland and you can easily hear the howling wind, feel the damp air, be comforted by the warmth of the pub and the "characters" therein. It's a bit of a ghost story, a mystery, and yes there's even a generous dash of romance as Verity Grey, an English archeologist, joins a "dig" with the eccentric Peter Quinell who has unsuccessfully been looking for evidence of the ancient ninth Roman Legion for years. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but there's even a bit of "paranormal" activity... This is an easy read, well paced, and easy to "lose yourself in." With the forecast of nasty weather this weekend, this would be an excellent choice of book to settle down with, a cozy quilt over you and a warm cup of tea in hand...

Peace,
Linda

"I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book." ~ J.K. Rowling

Friday, October 31, 2014

Start to Finish

One of my new upcoming classes is geared to the confident beginner. It was Jo's idea (shop owner), and we're anxious to see how it works. We're calling it "Start to Finish" and the idea is that students will get experience and help with all the basic skills, and complete a project too! (We'll see how that goes!) They will learn proper cutting techniques, stitching a 1/4" seam, how to follow a pattern to assemble a "top," matching seams, pressing, sandwiching and some basic machine quilting, and how to make and apply binding. We have decided to use the Take Four placemats pattern, so our plan is that they will get one placemat entirely finished and bound, and they'll have a start on the other three by the end of the day. Personally I don't put binding on placemats, but they will have the choice to bind the mats, or to bring something else to bind, so they get to learn how it's done. If I have time, I'll show them the slick technique I usually use for finishing placemats. You can see my tutorial on that here.
You never know, the first time you teach a skills class, just how far everyone will get... there are so many variables. I'm hoping we will accomplish our goal. So here are two of my mats. The other two will be completed as demos during the class next Saturday. I'll show you the full set of four after that.
I love this pattern and there are five variations given in the one pattern - how great is that! It is relatively quick and easy and the tops are done with just four fat quarters. If you can't find the Take Four pattern at your local quilt shop, you can purchase and download it here.

Piece!
Linda

"The thing I loved the most - and still love the most - about teaching is that you can connect with an individual or group, and see that individual or group exceed their limits." ~ Mike Krzyzewski

Thursday, October 30, 2014

In the Doghouse...

It seems I am in the doghouse today. Ollie is not happy with me - yesterday was "National Cat Day" and I missed it. He is pouting....see his little pouty lip? Guess I'll have to bribe him with extra treats to get back in his good graces.... spoiled kitty that he is....
I had hoped to have a project to show you today, but it's not quite done so you'll have to wait till tomorrow. I have some hand stitching to do to finish up, and a bit of machine quilting. That will be done tonight before I hit the sack. Photos to follow tomorrow...

I had to leave the sewing machine this afternoon and get outside for some work in the gardens. It seems we have a forecast for some snow this weekend, so I am hurrying to get my perennial beds cut down. I now have 2.5 of 5 beds done, so I'm getting there. Tomorrow afternoon I'll finish the side bed, and hopefully get the back bed done. That will leave just one for next week; hopefully we'll have a few days yet that are somewhat "comfortable" for outdoor work...
If you are a quilter, you are no doubt familiar with Missouri Star Quilt Co. They have a very popular website and blog. Yesterday I came across this blog post that I thought I'd share with you. You've probably seen similar "quizzes" - Which Disney character are you? or Which Downton Abbey character are you? or Which  whatever are you?  Well here's a fun one for quilters - Which Quilt Block are you? Go here to take the quiz. Funny- I did it and got  my all time favourite block - Log Cabin!!

Piece,
Linda

"Being busy is better than being bored. Bored left a long time ago. Busy is always around for me."
~ Tabitha Robin


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