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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two to Add to Your List...

We've had almost a week now of rain, rain, rain. Hello up there- we've had enough! We did need it, but turn off the tap now, please and thank you. Somehow I managed to pull a muscle in my chest/side last Thursday evening, so I've been spending some time on the couch, curled up with several good books. What better way to pass the rainy days? So I have two excellent recommendations for you...
New York Times Bestseller Still Alice by Lisa Genova is the compelling story of 50 year old University professor Alice Howland who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. What a read! Gripping. Haunting. Full of emotion. Poignant. ALL of the above. At times hard to read, but mostly hard to put down, the story of Alice's descent into the early stages of this insidious disease is frightening, especially for those of us who occasionally feel we are having the odd "senior moment". I'm sure everyone who has read this book has had the same thoughts as I- "Please God, spare me from Alzheimer's." I laughed, I cried, I felt like I was really inside Alice's mind at times... I identified with her children as they learned to cope with her dementia, and their worry over whether they too would eventually have the same fate. I also identified with her husband John as he struggled with the changes this disease brought to their lives. There but for the grace of God....
Still Alice is Genova's first novel, and her second book, Left Neglected, is also a New York Times Bestseller. I can't wait for her third book, Love Anthony, due out in September. Genova holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard and is an online columnist for the National Alzheimer's Association.
I highly recommend this book- add it to your "Must Read" list today.
And while the pen is in your hand, add this one too- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. OMG! What a book!! I read it over just a few days- it was very  difficult to put down. It is the rivetting story of Louie Zamperini, Olympic athlete (Berlin 1932) and WWII bombardier, who survives a crash into the Pacific and over 45 days in a life raft, only to end up in the hands of the Japanese. What he endured in the next two and a half years as a prisoner of war is almost unimaginable. It is truly a story of  "resilience of the human mind, body and spirit" (quoted from laurahillenbrandbooks.com).
The stubbornness and determination that grew within Louie as a child as he was bullied, served him well as a POW.  "Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will." (ibid)
Unbroken  was many weeks in the number one spot on the New York Times Bestseller list and was named Number One Book of the Year for 2010 by Time Magazine, as well as a host of other awards. Zamperini, aged 95, currently lives in Hollywood California and still works as a motivational speaker. For his 81st birthday in 1998, he ran a leg of the Olympic torch relay for the Nagano Winter Olympics. He was on Jay Leno just  a few weeks ago...To say Louie Zamperini is inspirational is an understatement... I think every History student should be required to read Unbroken.
I have to say, Unbroken makes my Top Ten Favourite Books of All Time list.. hands down... Read it. You won't be sorry. Nor will you complain about anything for a good long time...

Peace,
Linda

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another. The race is not always to the swift--but to those who keep on running.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday




What does "June" make you think of? To me, June means lupins, wild roses, weddings, graduations.... Since I have no wedding or grad photos to share this year, and we've already looked at lupins last Wednesday, I guess that means today is all about wild roses...
I don't have much to say today (that's a switch, I know!!) so I'll just let you enjoy my photos of various wild roses... I don't know their proper botanical names - to me every rose smells sweet!!   :)
































Can't you just smell that sweet scent?  Aaahhhh, summer....






Peace,
Linda

"Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses."  
~ Alphonse Karr

Sunday, June 24, 2012

An Afternoon of Fine Music....

It's a wet soggy day here in Freddy Beach.. too wet to be doing much outside. I am reviewing my music for our final choir concert this afternoon. If you are local and looking for something to do on a rainy Sunday, why not take in some fine entertainment this afternoon? The Fredericton Ladies Choir is joining forces with the touring Metropolitan Male Choir of South Australia to present a wonderful concert at 3p.m. at St. Dunstans Church on the corner of Brunswick and Regent. Tickets will be available at the door for $15.00. The Men's Choir is touring eastern North America on their way to the UK to perform first in Wales and then participate in a pre-Olympic Welsh Choirs of the World Concert in London. This event has attracted 500 male choristers from five continents.
We are hoping for a full house to welcome these Aussies to our beautiful city, their first stop in the Maritimes. Won't you join us?

Peace,
Linda

"I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music." ~ Billy Joel

Friday, June 22, 2012

So many books, so little time....

Have you read any good books lately?  I've been on a bit of a reading streak... (I seem to go in fits and starts.) Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls is another "true life novel" based on her family. A story of poverty and determination, she tells of her grandmother's life of struggles and tragedies, luck and resourcefulness. Walls has a way of drawing you in so that you feel you are right there, experiencing the flood, suffering through the drought, or whatever. Life in rural Arizona during the Great Depression was not easy and the main character, Lily, struggled to eke out a living by doing whatever was necessary to help her dysfunctional family survive. If you liked  The Glass Castle, you'll love Half Broke Horses.

Another book I finished recently was The Virgin Cure by Canadian author Ami McKay. I loved The Birth House by McKay - it was a phenomenal success, and no doubt The Virgin Cure will surpass it. I was hooked from the opening sentence: "I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart." Set in the late 1800's in the tenements of lower Manhattan, the story quickly draws you in to the time period when times were hard and children had to quickly learn to be street-smart to survive. At age 12, Moth is sold by her mother to a  woman of means who requires a servant. This sets in motion a chain of events in this young girl's life that are almost shocking to read. Without giving away too much of the story (you really must read it yourself!!) Moth tries to "make her way" on the streets which are filled with thieves, pick-pockets, and prostitutes after escaping the cruelty of Mrs. Wentworth. She is eventually taken in by Miss Everett who runs a brothel which caters to gentlemen who pay well for companions who are "willing and clean", particularly young virgins...
McKay's characterizations are richly detailed. I became so engrossed in Moth and Dr. Sadie, both strong female "leads" in the story. The setting also plays a major role - McKay's vivid descriptions made it so engrossing; her historical research, particularly into her great-great grandmother's life as a female physician in New York City has enriched her  writing. The inclusion of historical sidenotes and newspaper articles added a great deal as well. If I was rating this book, I would give it 6 stars out of 5.  You MUST read The Virgin Cure - it's as simple as that!!
I'm nearly finished reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova, but that will wait for another day...

Peace,
Linda

"In books lies the soul of the whole past time."
 ~ Carlyle

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday

It's time again for Wildflower Wednesday. If you've been driving the highways and biways in the Maritimes lately, I'm sure you can guess what this week's "feature flower" is... it's the lupin (also spelled lupine).  Like many plants this spring, they are a week or two early. In fact in some areas, they are pretty well finished. Lupins can be found in North and South America, New Zealand and parts of Australia, the Andes, the Mediterranean and Africa. Here they are common in fields and along roadsides, growing well in poor sandy soil.You may not know that lupins are a genus in the legume family, and they enhance soil

fertility by "fixing" atmospheric nitrogen into a useable form in the soil. Lupins are also popular as garden plants - there are many hybrids and cultivars.
 I don't have any lupins in my garden; they are short-lived as a perennial. (If deer plague your garden, lupins are a good choice as deer will not eat them.) I prefer to go out and "romp" through a "wild" field of them. Luckily there is a good big patch of them each year not far from where I live so I can easily visit it several times with camera in hand, to get my "fill"...  I have many many lupin photos, but have chosen just a
 few to share with you today. I hope you can feel the "Lupin Love".... Yep, Linda loves lupins!!
I love the "soft focus" effect of the shot above, left. I was going to crop away the right side to get rid of the old dead weed stalk when I noticed the sparrow sitting there... see him at the top right edge of the photo? I think he was posing for me...
I think the lupins are spectacular when blooming - tall erect spikes packed with flowers in a rainbow of colors, both solid and bi-color. The leaves are attractive too- palmate, like the spread fingers of your hand, often with 10 or more leaflets. The flowers are peaflower shaped and grow in whorls around the spike (seen clearly in photo at right). The fruit is a hairy pod which contains the seeds. 
So I hope you'll enjoy your visit to my favourite lupin patch. What a great way to celebrate the first "official day" of summer!!










Peace and Happy Summer!
Linda

"Summer's lease hath all too short a date."
~ William Shakespeare

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Poppy Love... Again!

It's that time of year again.. yes it's poppy time in the garden.... If you've been reading me for a while, you know that every June I share my poppies with you.. so here we go again... As soon as I step out my garage side door, this clump of poppies is immediately upon my right - what a glorious sight to greet me in the morning. This is what they look like as the early sun hits them while much of the side yard is still in shade.
This year there are well over a dozen blooms on this one plant. I wish they would last longer- all opened within a day or two of each other. Sadly, within a week, it's all over. Last year I planted a new poppy -a double frilly one called Fancy Feathers. I was hoping it would bloom this year but I guess it is going to make me wait another year. It survived the winter but is not growing fast enough to suit me.. I gave it a lovely top-dressing of compost and I've been giving it some "love talk"  along with water and fertilizer but it's taking it's good ole time... So I guess I'll have to content myself for one more year with these and the orange ones...  Sigh...


 If you like something a little more "colourful", take a look at my bright orange poppies. Yes I know - you almost need sunglasses!! I have several clumps of these - orange is NOT my colour, but I cannot bear to get rid of them. They sure do add some "pop" to the garden for a few days...


 I'm hoping that by this time next year I'll have a new poppy to show you.. if my memory is correct, Fancy Feathers is red....
Up next.. Wildflower Wednesday. Y'all come back now.....
I am linking to Mosaic Monday at Little Red House . Check out all the wonderful collages there...

Peace,
Linda

"The course of Nature is the art of God." ~ Edward Young

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Anniversary....

June 18th. Today would be my parent's 70th wedding anniversary. Where do the years go... Mum has been gone almost 10 years now, and Dad nearly 20. I still miss them daily. I occasionally "catch myself" expecting to see Mum standing behind me as I work in my garden. After her stroke, she lost most of her speech and she would walk over and just stand quietly behind me, watching what I was doing. I would never hear her, she was quiet as a mouse... then I'd turn and it would scare the heck out of me to find her right behind me.
My mother loved to garden and spent many happy hours "puttering" around the property. I think she'd be impressed if she could see it today... Dad wasn't much of a gardener, but he appreciated and enjoyed the results of  her green thumb.
So, "in honour" of my parents, I'm sharing some photos from my garden today - hope you enjoy them...
It seems I have a "purple thing" going on right now....

From the top collage, clockwise:
Japanese Iris, Jacob's Ladder and Chive.
Collage at the left, clockwise:
Clematis, Rhododendron, Poppy pod, Lady's Mantle, Columbine and
Japanese Iris.

Come back tomorrow for some other garden colors.....

Peace,
Linda

"Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams."
 ~ Paul Gauguin

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Quilt Canada Part 6. The End!


The Mariners Quilt Guild Show, "Home Grown * Sew Proud" will be the last one I'll share photos from. I suspect you might be getting a wee bit tired of Quilt Canada by now, but I do like to show quilts from this great conference so that those who could not attend can see what they missed.



The Mariners Guild is a relatively new Guild and I feel they put on a fabulous show. Obviously they are not lacking in talented members... I did not catch the name of every quilt, but I did at least get the quilter's names... Some of the first quilts you saw upon entering the room were several by Christina Belding. She is obviously a lady with a great sense of humour... don't you just love quilts with humour?? I believe she called this one (at right) Quilt Diva Self Portrait. Close by was Fabric Addict Self Portrait. At this point, I am thinking, Okay, I like this gal... we have a lot in common.. haha  We quilters are all alike- we feed our addiction with fabric - we love to stroke our fabric, hug our fabric, stash our fabric.. okay you get the idea....



 Further down the line, I came upon Mermaiden (below) and yep - you guessed it - it was by Christina Belding too!  Something about those Kaffe Fassett fabrics and all the colour...... I just knew this had to be one of her quilts as well.... The artist statement mentioned that she has done some scuba-diving and is fascinated by all the vibrant colours, unique shapes and amazing sea creatures she finds in the ocean. I have to say, I think Christina would be a fun friend to have.... (And wouldn't she be a blast to borrow fabric from???  lol )






















 This Guild had done a President's Challenge, and some of the entries were on display. I'm not sure
what the criteria were for the Challenge, other than it had to have something to do with Nova Scotia obviously, and each piece did include a piece of that beautiful blue Nova Scotia tartan. I'm guessing that the theme was to do with welcoming visitors to Nova Scotia as three of these quilts proclaim "Cead Mile Failte" which is Gaelic for "A Hundred Thousand Welcomes", and the fourth repeats the word "Welcome" all around the border...
My apologies for not having the names of each quilt. Here are the four winners:
 1st place was won by Jacqueline Adams (at left). I'm not certain, but this looks like the Bluenose II to me, in dock at Historic Properties in Halifax. (The world famous schooner Bluenose II is currently nearing completion of a major rebuild at the Lunenburg Shipyard, site of the construction of the original Bluenose in 1921. I don't know when she'll be launched, but a sail on her is on my bucket list.... )



2nd place winner was Jean Dyer Goulden with her depiction of the World Heritage Site, Old Town Lunenburg. If you have never visited Lunenburg, you must put it on your list of places to visit in Nova Scotia. You won't be sorry. You can read about my last visit there by clicking here. I can't wait to return, hopefully in early July....










 3rd place ribbons went to two winners - Paulette Daoust (at left) and Heather Brown (below right).  Congrats to all Challenge winners and entrants on a job well done...








































To wrap it up, here are a few other quilts from the Mariner's Guild Show. This Bargello by Heather Brown was called Waves of Colour. What a beautiful design!! This would look so great on MY bed....


















Although I did not note the info on this one, I am quite certain it is The Big Bang by Noreen Quilliam. (If anyone can confirm or correct me, please let me know. )

So that completes my "review" of the Shows at Quilt Canada. I hope you have enjoyed my photos and info... It is so inspiring to see so many incredible works in a few short days, One comes home "overloaded" with ideas, inspiration and enthusiasm..... I get frustrated when I overhear comments  from show attendees like "I could never do that" or "My work is so inadequate in comparison" or even "I just feel like giving up". I try to encourage people to remember that we ALL start as beginners and progress with our work at our own rate. Yes we won't all reach this level of  expertise, but we can all take something away from these shows - whether it be one simple idea for a new border treatment, or a color combination we might not have thought of, or a new technique to try- all are useful. Be inspired by these works to try something new, something daring, something fun! Challenge yourself to move along on your quilting journey.....
Thank you, CQA for another great "Quilt Canada" and a HUGE Thanks to the LOC - Local Organizing Committee - for a job WELL DONE!!!

Piece,
Linda

"Try to be inspired by something every day. Try to inspire at least one person every day." ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Quilt Canada Part 5

Okay folks, I'm back... I was away for three days this week and you know what it's like when you come home - always lots to catch up on. At this time of year it's mainly gardening. I now have my last planter planted, my vegetable garden in and some weeding done. I still have a few annuals left to put in  the soil (waiting for foliage from bulbs to die down) and one perennial bed which requires some serious thought/planning/revamping. There's always more to do, but overall I'm feeling good about the whole state of affairs right now... The last few weeks have been busy to say the least - getting back into the routine of both kiddos at work, juggling vehicles, etc. I finally have a new car, not quite what we had planned, but I'm more than happy. Laura has her bedroom painted a new color, so now I have another quilt to make.... Picked up some fabric this week for it so I'll have to find my sewing Mojo  and get at it... It'll be a more contemporary design than what she has now. Stay tuned...
So I think it's time to show you the last photos from Quilt Canada 2012 in Halifax, as time is marching on... First up - the "Miniatures" show - Nova Scotia guilds were issued a challenge to create miniature quilts for a concurrent show on the theme Seams Like Home. This show hung in Howe Hall; I didn't count but I think there were roughly 25 little quilts and each one was special. There were 3 winners in each of two categories (Traditional and Non-Traditional). Again, I would not have wanted to be a judge... At the top right is Seams Like Home by Kate Madeloso, which became the logo for the conference theme. I did not take photos of all the winners but here are three of them: First place (at left) in the Traditional category went to Anne Morell Robinson of  Cape Breton for The Cape Breton Heritage Quilt. It is a 1/4 scale replica of a full size quilt she designed several years
ago, featuring Cape Breton icons. To quote her Artist Statement: "All the images represent what makes Cape Breton Special: the farms, the sea, the Cabot Trail, the music, the wildlife, the Scottish,
the English, the Acadians, the Mi'kmaq, the homes and the woods. Cape Breton is full of colour and the colourful." Anne is well known in these parts as a quilter extraordinaire, designer and teacher. Her hand applique on this small piece was exceptional.
First prize winner in the Non Traditional category was Sandra Roch with her piece Blooms and Shells (at right). She combined hand piecing and hand embroidery with hand dyed cottons and cheesecloth, shells and beads and a variety of techniques including printing and tea-dying, silk ribbon embroidery and machine quilting. I thought this little quilt was charming and a great choice for first place.






Second place in Non Traditional was also won by Anne Morell Robinson. Home From The Seams is Anne's depiction of the coal miners of Inverness toiling underground, then walking home to the company houses known as the "red rows". When Anne heard people talking about the red rows, she thought they were talking about Red Rose Tea, so she backed the quilt with a floral fabric of red roses.













Another miniature in this show which caught my eye was Super Lobster by Pam White Tracey. If you are a lobster lover, you know you'd love to have this big guy on your plate! Nothing compares to fresh Atlantic lobster - because our Atlantic water is colder than most, our lobster is more flavourful. (oh dear, I'm starting to salivate...)





 










A Lazy Day by Vicki Burke just made me want to head to the nearest beach. That beach chair just looked so inviting... This was Vicki's interpretation of a pattern from the Spring 2011 Quilting and Embroidery magazine.











Seams Like Home by Jan Holleman also caught my eye - that beautiful blue water again had me wishing there was a beach nearby.  Jan used to own a wonderful quilt shop in the Annapolis Valley - I sure miss her and her wonderful shop!












Linda Smith's quilt, The Hobo, was a representation of a boat they used for family outings to secluded beaches in her childhood home of  Prospect N.S. Linda and I are blogging friends and I had hoped we would meet that week in Halifax but we never crossed paths... You can read more about her piece here on her blog.

It's getting late so I think I'll put up this post and do a separate post for the Mariners Quilt Guild Show..   To be continued...

Monday, June 11, 2012

After the Rain...

Like many I'm getting more than a little tired of all the dreary overcast weather, not to mention the rain... Surely now that we are well into June, it's time for some sunny warm weather.... Running the furnace in June to take away the dampness is discouraging...
But I must say I do enjoy a stroll around the yard after the rain to see how all the gardens fared ... Here are some closeup looks at what I saw.... Can you tell I'm playing with my Macro lens?






Peace
Linda

"Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby".    ~ Langston Hughes

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Quilt Canada Part 4

Are you ready for a look at another QC Show? How about the FAN Show? No, this was not a display of fans, it was a show by the Fibre Art Network - a group of very talented quilters from Western Canada.
"The Fibre Art Network (FAN) is a co-operative of self-defined art quilters based in Western Canada. FAN members come from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories - and share their learning and news in a monthly newsletter and through a website. It is a long distance meeting of minds that spans artistic challenges as well as geographic ones.
FAN membership includes emerging fibre artists, teachers, authors, judges and award winning quilt artists. Many have shown their work nationally and internationally and some have won both national and international recognition. The cooperative engenders fellowship of like-minded friends and celebrates differences as well as common interests." - (from their poster)
You can visit their website at www.fibreartnetwork.com to view more of their work, by exhibition or by artist. There are 13 "exhibitions" in the Gallery on their website. The exhibition in Halifax was called "From Away". Such an "open" topic allowed members a wide range of interpretation.
Here are a few pieces which really caught my eye.. in no particular order... At the top is Kanaka Creek Sunset by Vivian Kapusta of Maple Ridge B.C. This piece virtually glowed...

This is Aurora Borealis over Marsh Lake, Yukon by Thelma Newbury. If you have ever been fortunate enough to view the northern lights, you know that this vivid green is very realistic. Her hand-dyed fabric was perfect for the sky!










 Crows and Crabapples by Emilie Belak  of Grand Forks B.C. made me smile, reminding me of my love-hate relationship with crows.... I love to hate them, especially on garbage day...



















Just Visiting by Carol Seeley was a beautiful piece, showing Trumpeter Swans, common to Vancouver Island where Carol lives.  The detail shot below shows some of her wonderful thread work... Carol was  named CQA Teacher of the Year for 2007.

























Lastly, Reaching the Target by Valerie Wilson  also exhibited talented threadwork skills. One could just see the determination of that little ladybug, steadily crawling up the stalk...






I encourage you to click on the link above and visit the FAN website to learn more about this group  and view their exhibitions and private works. I'm sure you will not feel your time wasted...
The other "art quilt" show at QC 2012 was the show by about 20 Maritime members of SAQA - Studio Art Quilt Associates. This Show at the Mary E. Black Gallery, titled "Rooted", did not allow photography, but you can visit the SAQA website for a taste of the calibre of work in this show (and I'm proud to say I think what I saw in Halifax, by our own Maritime quilters, was of equal calibre to what you'll see on the website). I cannot find a "gallery" of photos from the Halifax exhibit but if it appears in the future I will come back and include a link here.

Piece (and embellish!!)
Linda

"One of your most powerful inner resources is your own creativity. Be willing to try on something new and play the game full-out." ~ Marcia Wieder
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