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

Monday, October 17, 2016

The End Is Near...

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


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

Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving from the Hubbard clan.


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

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Another small finish

Another small finish to share with you today. I did this piece recently as another sample for my Walking Foot Quilting class, it's about 11" square. "Matchstick quilting" is the term given to straight lines of quilting evenly spaced very closely together; these are 1/8" apart.  It is really quite easy to do once you know how. It's a great exercise in getting familiar with your walking foot and learning to use it properly to space your lines of stitching. Many quilters don't come close to using this foot to its full potential and are surprised to learn there are markings on the foot and ways to measure with the foot so that no marking on the fabric is required.

I had fun with the matchstick stitching of this piece, using a rainbow of Sulky rayon threads.
Have you ever tried matchstick quilting?


Quilting is the answer, I don't care what the question is!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Do you salsa?

Do you salsa? I'm talking about the condiment, not the dance...
Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes... I feel like I have tomatoes coming out my ears! It's been a bumper crop this year, I'm not complaining but I am getting a little tired of dealing with TOMATOES!!! We've been eating them, freezing them, making salsa, and giving them away. And I still have lots! There are still many on the vine, and we are now covering them each night as it is getting pretty cool and there have been a few frost warnings, although we've been lucky so far... So if any of my local readers would like some tomatoes, get in touch. I'd be happy to share some with you. Come and get it!

Just in case you too have lots of tomatoes to "deal with" here is my salsa recipe in case you'd like to try it. Quick and easy, healthy and yummy too!


7 cups fresh stewed tomatoes, (or 2 - 28oz. cans tomatoes)
1 14oz. can tomato sauce
1 red pepper and 2 green peppers, finely chopped
2 cups chopped onions
2/3 cup white vinegar
3 Tblsp. white sugar
2 tsp. coarse salt
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/4 - 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste - depending on how hot you like your salsa
**Of course you can adjust the amount of seasonings to your own taste. I often add more garlic and oregano.
Combine all ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened.  Bottle in hot sterilized mason jars, cap and let cool completely, then freeze. Be sure to leave enough space at the top to allow for expansion when it freezes. Makes about 5.5 pints


"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato." ~ Lewis Grizzard

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Every once in a while I come across something on Facebook, or receive an email from a friend that I think is worth sharing. This arrived last night in my inbox and it made me chuckle, so I thought you might enjoy it too... It's a dreary wet day here, a good day for a laugh!


Sign in a shoe repair shop:
We will heel you,
We will save your sole,
We will even dye for you. 

Sign over a Gynecologist's office:
Dr. Jones, at your cervix

Sign in a Podiatrist's office:
Time wounds all heels.

Sign at an Optometrist's office:
If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place.

Sign on a plumber's truck:
We repair what your husband fixed.

Sign on an electrician's truck:
Let us remove your shorts.

Sign on a maternity room door:
Push. Push. Push. 

Sign in a Veterinarian's waiting room:
Be back in five minutes. Sit! Stay! 

Sign at the electric company:
We would be delighted if you send in your payment on time. 
However if you don't , YOU will be de-lighted.

Sign in the front yard of a funeral home:
Drive carefully. We'll wait. 

And the best for last...
Sign on the back of a septic tank truck:
Caution - This truck is full of political promises.


"A day without laughter is a day wasted." ~ Charlie Chaplin

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Small Finish

It's a good day to show you a small finish as it's been a while... This is a small piece measuring 10.5" x 11" (I think I'll call it a candle mat) that served a twofold purpose. It was my first experiment with hexagons. These are referred to as "modern hexies" because rather than being hand sewn to each other as is done with English Paper Piecing, they are applied to a background fabric with spaces left between them. They are glued in place with a good quality fabric glue that remains flexible when dry. Then machine quilting passes through them to secure them in place. I chose to quilt a grid through the hexies, passing through each point. This is the second purpose, to serve as another sample piece for my "Quilting with the Walking Foot" class.
Much as I admire EPP, it's not for me, but I do enjoy the "modern hexies." I have another slightly larger piece ready to go, hexies all made and positioned, ready to be glued and stitched, and also fabrics chosen for a much larger piece, made with larger hexagons. It'll be a while before I get to it, but the hexies are something I can chip away at. They are formed over stiff paper hexagons and the folds are held in place with a few hand stitches. Then they are pressed well and papers removed. An easily portable project and great for handwork in front of the tv.
What sort of handwork do you enjoy?


In my perfect world, fabric is free and sewing makes you thin...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Update on Noah

For those of you who have been asking how my grandson is doing, here's a little update. Noah is doing just fine! He is gaining weight steadily, I think my daughter must be producing pure cream! He has gained close to 6 pounds in 8.5 weeks! He will be two months old tomorrow and is finally settling in to better feeding and sleeping patterns. And.  he.  is.  CUTE!!

He is learning to smile and laugh!!

Mr. Chubby Cheeks!!!

Official "two months old" photo!

Now, you have to admit.. he IS pretty cute, isn't he? Of course I could be somewhat biased...


When you're drawing up your first list of life's miracles, you might place near the top the first moment your baby smiles at you. Bob Greene

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Late Summer Busy-ness

The busy-ness of late summer and garden harvesting is finally slowing down. We have been enjoying the fruits of my garden labours for a while now... I always say we must be our healthiest in August and September because we eat so many fresh home grown veggies!   :)
A garden is a lot of work but sooo worth it. I love just going out and picking as much as I want of whatever is ready... peas, beans, lettuce, carrots, whatever. Despite a fairly dry summer, the garden did well. We had a bumper crop of green peas, my absolute favourite!  :)  Of course the lettuce, peas and beans are now done, as are the cucumbers. All that remains in my garden now are beets and carrots and a slooowwww ripening crop of tomatoes. I will do my pickled beets this week and get the carrots dug.
I have been stewing tomatoes for the freezer as they ripen. I use them all winter in spaghetti sauce, chili, etc. and love never having to buy canned tomatoes. And of course we've been eating tomatoes and cukes daily.... toasted tomato sandwiches... broiled cheese and tomato sandwiches...
I have made peach jam (recipe here), Lady Ashburnham pickles (story here, recipe here), 11 day crock pickles, and have a big batch of spiced apple jelly underway today (recipe here.) Still to do: pickled beets, red pepper jelly and salsa. And freeze more tomatoes. Then I'll be done... The garden will soon be tilled and put to bed for winter. (whew!)
Our raspberries did not produce much of a crop this year, but after last year's mega harvest (50+ qts.) I still have lots in the freezer. Anyone have any good recipes using frozen raspberries, other than for pie?
So now you know a bit of what I've been up to "in my absence here." Up next are updates on Noah (growing fast!) my two new kittycats (settled in nicely!) and some finished quilting projects (about time, I hear you saying.) Also pics from some local quilt shows.. so y'all come back!
OH! One last thing! A movie recommendation.. if you haven't yet seen the movie The Light Between Oceans, DO see it! It's playing locally, just for another two days... GREAT movie. Beautiful cinematography, good story, well acted!


"The first gatherings of the garden in May of salads, radishes and herbs made me feel like a mother about her baby - how could anything so beautiful be mine. And this emotion of wonder filled me for each vegetable as it was gathered every year. There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling, as gathering the vegetables one has grown." ~ Alice B. Toklas

Thursday, August 25, 2016


It's time for a family update! Grandson Noah has just had his 1 month birthday! Here he is with his Mommy, doesn't he look handsome? And doesn't Mommy look great?! He has already gained over 2.5 pounds, so I guess we know there's no major problems with the breastfeeding!   :)

He is growing and getting more alert all the time. Now he just has to figure out the "nurse longer and fill my tummy so I can sleep for a longer stretch" thing... He seems to be in more of a snack and nap mode... lol  He's moved up a size in diapers, and is wearing 3 month size clothing. No more "newborn" for him!

And today is granddaughter Claire's third birthday!!  Wow! Where have three years disappeared to? She too is growing fast.. wearing size 5 clothing at age 3... We don't see her that often so see big differences with each visit, especially in her vocabulary. Wowzers! She will be meeting baby Noah in October. Can't wait to see what she thinks of him!


"The world is as many times new as there are children in our lives."
~ R. Brault

Monday, August 22, 2016

On My Bookshelf

Back in January I read my first Louise Penny mystery, Bury Your Dead, the sixth in a lengthy series (you can read that post here.) I knew long before I finished the book that I would be reading more of her work, so I set about searching for the previous five in the series. I bought the first two, Still Life and Dead Cold (titled A Fatal Grace in the USA) and finished them both within a week. The next three, The Cruellest Month, The Murder Stone (title A Rule Against Murder in the USA) and The Brutal Telling were borrowed from the library last week and I am now well into the fifth one. Each one could certainly stand on its own and be enjoyed as an individual mystery, but I have so enjoyed them as a series, getting to know the characters a little better with each successive story. The series is set in Three Pines, a quiet (fictional) village in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, south of Montreal and close to the Vermont border. The principal character is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, head of homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, an appealing and intelligent man with great listening skills and an uncanny ability to make people open up and  share their thoughts. His sidekick second in command Jean Guy Beauvoir and several other police detectives appear in each book, and form just part of the lovable cast of characters. The eccentric inhabitants of Three Pines are also "regulars" in each story... Peter and Clara Morrow the struggling artists, Olivier and Gabri, the gay couple who run the village B and B and bistro, Ruth the curmudgeonly poet who always speaks her mind (often with colourful language) and Myrna who left her career as a psychologist to run a used bookstore in Three Pines. I could never pick a favourite as they all have their own (lovable) quirky traits, but Gamache is certainly a character I'd love to meet. Penny admits the Chief Inspector is based on her husband Michael.
I'm not going to give plot summaries for each book, you can find those elsewhere if you want to. Suffice it to say murder mysteries are not my usual genre, but I am LOVING this series and each one gets better than the last. Penny makes the characters come to life, and writes so descriptively I am often salivating for the meals cooked at the bistro. I can clearly picture the town square of Three Pines, and the cozy cottage-like homes of brick and fieldstone and I'd love to book a relaxing weekend at the B and B. I cannot wait to continue reading more titles in this series.
What are you reading lately? Any recommendations?

 EDIT: Since I've had some questions in the comments, here's a little more info. Louise Penny's website can be found here. On her sidebar you'll see the 11 books of the series listed in order; her newest, #12, A Great Reckoning, comes out next week, August 30. It has already been named one of the top 10 books of  September by O Magazine. Penny was born in Toronto, and became a journalist and radio host with CBC, working in Toronto, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Quebec City and Montreal. She currently lives and writes in a small village in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, south of Montreal near the US border. This New York Times and Globe and Mail best-selling author has won five Agatha Awards, five Anthony Awards and numerous others. 
You can find recipes for some of the mouth-watering dishes described in her books here and answers to many frequently asked questions here.


That moment at 3a.m. when you whisper to yourself "I need to stop..." as you turn the page.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Family Additions...

After the addition of our grandson three weeks ago, our family has now grown by two more members!! I think we're having a growth spurt! lol The hubs and I have certainly been missing our beautiful Oliver since he passed away last November. There's not a day goes by that we don't think of him and miss his companionship. This week an opportunity arose that we couldn't pass up. A neighbour had passed away, leaving behind two beautiful long-haired cats, so we have adopted them. Well, I guess we're actually on a trial basis right now... we'll see how things go for a week or two. They are a bit traumatized and will take awhile to feel comfortable here. They are used to a much smaller space, so we
have limited them to the kitchen and family room, and basement at this point. In a few more days we'll open up the rest of the main floor, then add upstairs next week, hoping that will make it easier for them to adjust to their new home. One spent a full 18 hours hiding under our couch, but he has finally come out today a few times and seems to be feeling a bit more at home now. It'll just take some time for them to feel safe, I guess, with so many new things to sniff and explore, new sounds and voices, etc. Patience, patience...
The beautiful Miss Ginger above is about 7 years old, and Mr. Scamp, left, is around 4. These are not great photos at all but I'm sure I'll get better ones as soon as they become more comfortable in front of the camera; they are both still somewhat skittish at this point...


Cats are like music. It's foolish to try to explain their worth to those who don't appreciate them.

Monday, August 8, 2016

On My Bookshelf

I have just finished reading one of the best books ever. I plowed through its almost 800 pages quite quickly, because it was very difficult to put down. Yep, one of those. Don't start it until you can dedicate a block of time to it. A while back a friend asked me what I've been reading lately, and then she said "What's your favourite book of all time?" Now that's not an easy question to answer, and in fact at the time, I couldn't answer her. I replied "I'll ponder that and get back to you." I'm still not sure if I could pick just ONE most favourite (That's kinda like which one is your favourite child?  Impossible to answer...) but Margie, this one would certainly be in the running: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.
It's not my usual genre, and maybe that's one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much... it was something different. I guess I would call it a cross of murder mystery with suspense thriller, with the accent on the suspense thriller.. lol.
I don't want to give away too much of the story, but the two main characters are an American (codename Pilgrim) who works for an unknown covert US government agency higher than the FBI or CIA and a young terrorist from Saudi Arabia. Hayes takes us on a whirlwind journey, from New York City where the story begins with a murder, to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Paris, Syria, Gaza, and Turkey as Pilgrim races to solve a perfect crime and foil his adversary's plot to bring down the USA.

From the book jacket: "A breakneck race against time.. and an implacable enemy.
An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.
A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.
Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.
A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.
One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey. Pilgrim."

Of course, these seemingly unconnected events all eventually come together in a fast-paced, action-packed, well organized, well researched  and very cleverly written plot. The reader cannot fly through the text as there are many details to be noted. Just when you think you have something figured out, things take an unpredictable turn...  Foreshadowing is used effectively and the characters are so very well developed. Both Pilgrim and his "prey" are extremely intelligent and you keep wondering which one will outsmart the other. In short, an amazing read! Warning, there are some scenes of graphic violence.
Hayes has already had a successful career as a journalist and a movie and tv screenwriter. I Am Pilgrim is his debut novel. I can only say I hope he continues writing novels, I will be at the head of the line to purchase his next one. MGM has secured the movie rights to I Am Pilgrim. I'll be in that lineup too.


"Good books don't give up all their secrets at once." ~ Stephen King

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Baby Noah

Baby Noah has stolen my heart. I flew to Ontario last Friday and my time here has flown by. His biggest issue was figuring out the breastfeeding thing, but seems to finally have got the hang of it. He had a second appointment with an excellent Lactation Consultant this morning and has gained 10 ounces since last Thursday! Laura is relieved and happy! So all is well. Now if Mummy and Daddy could just catch up on their sleep, things would be just ducky!
I am no portrait photographer, but these are a few of my favourite photos from the last four days....

And then there were three......

Uncle Mark came to visit!

Mummy Snuggles


"Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart." ~ Winnie the Pooh

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