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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

As we welcome in the New Year tonight, I just want to wish all my friends, followers and occasional readers a very Happy New Year! As we look back on events of the past year, let's hope that 2013 will be a better year - fewer tragedies, natural disasters and events that test our limits. I wish you all good Health, Happiness and most of all Peace for the coming year. I often think about World Peace.. will we ever see it?  Let's hope so.... Let's make it happen first at home. Be kinder to your neighbour... do a random act of kindness for a stranger.... pay it forward. Find the time to be thoughtful of others.. Lighten up and laugh more often... Take better care of yourself.

Welcome 2013... let.'s make it an awesome year to remember!



Peace and Love,
Linda

The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter.

A Must Read....

The last day of 2012! Wow. Time is flying by toooo quickly for my liking. Since I still have no sewing/quilting to show, how about another book review? The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom is definitely one of my Top 5 favs for the year. I read it in less than 24 hours - truly one of those "I REALLY don't want to put this book down" types. Who cares that it's supper time and the troops are hungry?  Bedtime? Nooo, I don't wanna go to bed.. I just wanna keep reading!! If you liked The Help, you will LOVE this book!
Canadian author Grissom has written a powerful tale of life on a southern plantation, and although a fictional story, she has obviously carefully researched the historical facts. The characters are well drawn and one feels present as the story unfolds. The descriptions are rich and enveloping and you find yourself wanting the story to continue and never end. Grissom created two protagonists, Lavinia and Belle, and the story is told from their perspectives. Lavinia is a young child as the story opens (1791), an Irish immigrant who is orphaned on the voyage and is taken by Captain Pyke, the ship owner, to his Virginia tobacco plantation as an indentured slave. She is sent to work in the "kitchen house" with Belle and the other "nigras". Lavinia develops a deep bond with the slaves and comes to think of them as her family. I don't want to give away any more of the story, but suffice it to say, as Lavinia grows up at Tall Oaks, her life takes many twists and turns and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough... I highly recommend this novel. It is one I will definitely read again, and I cannot wait for Grissom's next book.

Peace,
Linda

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." ~ Dr. Seuss

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Let It Snow....

"Oh the weather outside is frightful
  But the fire is so delightful
 And since we've no place to go,
 Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!"

Well part of that is true anyway.. the weather outside has been frightful. We've just had our second storm in several days; the first one gave us over a foot of snow and now we've received close to another foot.  We don't have a fire to snuggle up in front of, but we are thankful we have not lost power in either storm, so we are snug and warm. We are lucky to not have to travel over the Christmas holidays if we don't choose to, so that is truly something to be thankful for. Close
friends  have children trying to get home to Calgary today. They were up before 4a.m. to get to the airport for a very early flight, which didn't get out till almost 10a.m. She is travelling with a one month old.. now she's stuck in Toronto for the night, can't get to Calgary till tomorrow. Her hubby and 3.5 year old are still here, their afternoon flight was cancelled and they are now being told it will be several DAYS before they can get out.. Oh the joys of flying in the winter... You just never know, with our weather, what will happen...

I am so glad all my family are local and the furthest we have to go is the grocery store! lol   I made a big pot of turkey soup today (that's the END of Mr. Turkey!) so that's what will be on the table for supper along with some fresh biscuits, and fruit salad for dessert topped off with some Christmas cookies. Mmmmmm.... I do love turkey soup...
My brothers have been plowing all day, and hubby is now out shovelling and cleaning up with the snowblower, now that the snow has stopped falling... Our bench will be buried, after the next storm....  We didn't see the sun today at all. It fact it's been a pretty "grey" day. These photos could almost pass for black and white, couldn't they? Although I plugged in our candles in the windows and turned our tree lights on before going out to take these photos around 3pm, they don't even show up! Maybe I'll have to try another shot or two after dark...
It's always interesting to see how the snow "sticks" to the trees after a storm. Sometimes the patterns are quite interesting... not so today, but still beautiful, I think... There IS beauty in simple things....







Peace,
Linda

"Few things are as democratic as a snowstorm." ~ Bern Williams

Friday, December 28, 2012

Another finish...

Another book finish!  "That Forgetful Shore" is a novel by Canadian author Trudy J. Morgan-Cole.  A compelling read, it is a story of love and loss in early twentieth century Newfoundland.
From the book jacket:  "Triffie and Kit are closer than sisters. But for two girls growing up in a tiny Newfoundland outport at the dawn of the twentieth century, having the same dreams and ambitions doesn't mean life will hand you the same opportunities. A teacher's certificate offers Kit the chance to explore the wider world, while Triffie is left behind, living the life she never wanted with the man she swore she'd never marry. The letters she and Kit exchange are her lifeline -- until a long-buried secret threatens to destroy their friendship. That Forgetful Shore is a story of friendship, love, faith and betrayal."
This was a perfect book for after Christmas. I could easily lose myself  in the story as the turkey digested and the snowstorm raged outside... The characters are well developed and one could easily identify with their problems and challenges as they grow up and move on with their very different adult lives. Times are hard during and after the war, and although they were the closest of childhood friends, circumstances change and so does their relationship....
This fictional story by Newfoundland author Morgan-Cole was inspired by actual postcards found in a 150 year old house in Coley's Point (Conception Bay area) built by the author's great-great- grandfather. You can visit www.thatforgetfulshore.com for more about the background of this story.
That Forgetful Shore won a gold medal in the 2012 IPPY Awards - the Independent Publisher Book Awards- in the category of Regional Fiction (Canada- East). It also was nominated for Best Atlantic Published Book in the 2012 Atlantic Book Awards.
Two thumbs up! You will want to read this book!

Peace,
Linda

A good book should leave you.... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

On My Bookshelf...

It's time for a book review or two. I am a little behind on telling you what I've been reading lately. Three recent finishes are The Paris Wife by Paula McLain,  The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom and That Forgetful Shore by Trudy J. Morgan-Cole.
First, The Paris Wife.
I knew little of Ernest Hemingway, other than that he had several marriages, was known as a "womanizer", had a problem with alcohol and that he eventually committed suicide.  The Paris Wife is the story of his first marriage, to Hadley Richardson. McLain extensively researched Hemingway's novels, biographies and letters to write this fictional account of their rollercoaster five year relationship. It is told from Hadley's perspective and offers an "inside view" of the life they led in Paris during prohibition, as Hemingway struggled to become a writer of note. Seven years his senior, Hadley was reclusive when she was courted by the young Hem, just home from the Great War and suffering from trauma and its aftereffects. She was a devoted wife and sacrificed her own ambitions to support the needy and egocentric Ernest, assuring him he would be a successful writer. Their life in the Latin Quarter with the "in crowd" of writers and artists (Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce and others), the partying and heavy drinking, travels to Spain and Austria while living hand to mouth, the bull fights and horse races are embraced by Hadley, but the glamourous life eventually starts to fade. One cannot help but feel her heartbreak as Hem's possessiveness, moodiness and a mistress all contribute to the disintegration of their marriage, despite her best efforts to save it. I won't give away any more details, but if you like Hemingway, I'm sure you'd enjoy this account of his early years as a writer and his first (of four) marriages.
Next - That Forgetful Shore. 

Peace,
Linda

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day...

It's all over but the leftovers! Ollie is demonstrating how we all are feeling... Ooooff! Stuffed with turkey. What a good feeling! I hope you all had a good Christmas, filled with family and loved ones, laughter and joy. Our Christmas Day was just the way I like it, quiet and relaxing. Ollie's antics kept us in laughter - he got three (yes three!!) new catnip toys plus a red laser toy to chase so he was pretty tired out last night by bedtime!!
I hope Santa was good to you, as he was to us. We are indeed blessed to have what we do, and live where we do. I didn't get a post done in time to wish you all the merriest Christmas so I'm doing it now. Enjoy the "downtime" and special time with loved ones....
 Peace,
Linda

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time." ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Christmas Story

My friend Barb F sent me this Youtube link for a delightful presentation of the Christmas Story done by children from St. Paul's Church in Auckland, New Zealand. It is PRECIOUS!! Well worth the watch. Take a minute and enjoy! I particularly like the sheep and the littlest wiseman...


 Peace,
Linda

"And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." ~ Luke 2:10-12

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Update...

Just so you know I'm still alive, thought I should give another brief update. I'm muddling along, getting things done- just not as quickly as usual. Both chicks are home to the nest now, so that's nice. The driveway was full tonight as Mark's buddies gathered...
12-12-12 has passed.. We won't see that occurrence again until January 1st of 2101: 01-01-01. I won't be here to see it, and neither will my children... Some are concerned about tomorrow - the last day of the Mayan calendar, supposedly.. I'm not too worried, but just in case - Thank you all for following along on Stitch Lines. It's been a blast! (But I am quite sure we'll all still be here on Saturday...)
Yesterday would have been my Mum's 96th birthday. I still miss her every day. I can't believe she's been gone 10 years now, and my Dad almost 20.
So - things are getting ticked off the ole list. Shopping almost done. Just little last minute things left.
Wrapping started - still a ways to go on that one..  Christmas Pudding is made, and 1 batch of shortbreads done ("Cinnamon Sticks" - shortbread "fingers" rolled in cinnamon sugar. Recipe here.) Tomorrow I'll do regular shortbreads, chocolate squares and we'll see what else. Our Ladies Choir Concert was held last Sunday - again a great success, and $5,000.00 of the proceeds will be split between the Food Bank and The Next 26, a charity for the homeless. Our Choir dinner on Tuesday evening was lovely; best of all we raised a good amount of $$ by donation for the Community Kitchen. It feels good to help out these worthy charities at this time of year when the need is so great.
Decorating is almost finished, except for putting our tree up - that's the next big thing to cross off... All cards, letters and emails have been sent. So - we're getting there...
I have 4 Physio sessions under my belt now, arm/shoulder is feeling somewhat better. The exercises I've been doing are to increase range of motion. By next week I should be able to start strengthening exercises. I had an X-ray this week, no results yet. So- that's where I'm at. Thank you to all who have inquired as to how I'm  doing. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I'm hangin' in...
We had a significant snowfall on Tuesday and Wednesday. We lost our power on Tuesday night for about 7 hours.. we were lucky- some people don't have it back yet! So it's lookin' like a white Christmas for us...

Peace,
Linda

"Then let your heart be filled with joy
While Christmas bells are ringing,
And keep the birthday of the Lord
With merriments and singing."
~ Mary Jane Carr

Friday, December 14, 2012

Being Naughty...

What were you taught as a child about being naughty? Santa won't come? He checks his list twice to see who's naughty or nice? He sees you when you're sleeping... he knows when you're awake... he knows if you've been bad or good...  There's more than one Christmas song that dissuades children from being naughty at this time of year... I can remember oh so clearly my mother telling me that Santa's elves were always watching. In the house I grew up in, there was a small window high on the kitchen wall ( or it seemed high to me as a small child) and I was sure that that's where the elves were peeking in to keep an eye on me. I would turn my head quickly to look at that window but I could never get a glimpse of those elves.. What childhood memories do you have of that incredibly loooong period before Christmas when it was oh SO hard to wait for the big day? The days seemed to stretch out FOR-EVERRRRR. I was the youngest with two older brothers... who loved to tease (and still do..lol) It seemed to me that Christmas would never arrive.... the wait was unbearable....
So when I saw the pattern for this little cross-stitch, I couldn't resist. Just thought it was so cute. So I thought I'd be naughty (for once ... wink) and stitch it up. Since I can't sew much yet, I can at least feel like I'm accomplishing something by doing some stitchin'. This design is a Lizzie Kate "Quick-it" design, Be Naughty Q-07. You can view it and other great Lizzie Kate designs here.

Peace,
Linda

Dear Santa, I can explain.....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Frozen Peas... my new BFF

Yep I've been doin' a lot of  cuddlin' with a bag of frozen peas for the last two weeks. They work just great as an "icebag" on my shoulder... I'm so glad I stocked up on a few bags when they were on sale a few weeks ago! lol My shoulder is slowly improving.. not fast enough for my liking, but I'm grateful it is showing some improvement. I started Physio yesterday, another appointment tomorrow and two scheduled for next week. I have exercises to do to improve range of motion and to strengthen the muscles. Thank you to those who have emailed to see how I'm doing. I did manage to get to the mall today to cross a few more things off my list. I am making progress, even if it's slow... I've accepted the fact that Christmas will come and go whether I'm all ready or not. Whatever...
Although I cannot sew, I have been able to do some stitching.. Tomorrow I'll show a pic of a recent "finish" when I can get a good photo with natural light. It's a quick Lizzie Kate design that I've had for a while. And I have another one almost done, although  it won't get framed until after Christmas.
I was going to do a book review tonight for you as well, but I'm fading.. It will have to wait for another day. I find I just don't have much energy these days. I guess my body is putting it's efforts into healing, which is good. But I cannot accomplish what I'd like to in the run of a day. I can only do a few things then I have to rest. So by this time of night, there's not much left. It's time to lay down again with my new BFF.. my bag  of frozen peas.... Who knew?

Peace,
Linda

"Patience is the greatest of all virtues". ~ Cato the Elder

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's Going On?

I'm sure you've been wondering just that.. what's going on? Where is she? Why isn't she blogging? Well, I was away for two days last week, and since then, I've had a little problem. I had a fall last Friday night, and it seems I have a tear in the rotator cuff of my right shoulder. Hence some pain, poor sleep at nights and loss of mobility/range of motion in my right arm. It has certainly put a cramp in my "December productivity". Color me frustrated!!! This is not a good time of year to be "somewhat disabled"!! I have too long a list of things to be done to put up with this foolishness! But put up I must. It can take weeks or even months to heal so I'm trying to be good (okay, better than just "good"). I don't want this to drag on any longer than absolutely necessary...
We went downtown to the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Legislative Buildings. It was cold and I had worn shoes (instead of boots- mistake #1). My feet were very cold - bordering on numb. When we left, I "missed" a small curb, turned my ankle and down I went, full force on my right arm and shoulder, crashing to the pavement. How embarassing.  My upper arm has been going through the loveliest
shades of black, purple and now that beautiful "bruise green"... lol  I had thought of taking a photo of my arm, but I wouldn't want to scare you! It looks like someone beat me with a crowbar! So instead I found a few photos from our visit to Jolly Farmer two  weeks ago - enjoy the Christmas blooms - they are much more attractive! By far!
Yes I am frustrated. My red quilt is waiting. All 20 blocks are done, it's up on the design wall and lookin' good. But I can't go any further until I cut some more sashing strips. And I can't do any rotary cutting, it hurts too much. I can't sew on something else as I can't lift my right
arm. I can't do any baking. I can't even "do" my hair!! Arrrggghhhhhhh!!!!! I still have shopping to do..
I have done some cross-stitching, as that IS manageable, sitting on the couch and keeping my right arm against my body. I finished a small piece today and took it to my framer (hat covering head.. lol)  I promise a pic when I get it back.
So no doubt there will be some things this Christmas that just don't get done. No worries, everyone will understand, I hope. Dear daughter will be home in a few more days, so she'll be put to work helping out. I do have a good part of the decorating done... Cards and letters are next. The keyboard is easier now than it was a few days ago.... I pray each night for patience.... I AM very grateful it was not worse- I could have broken bones...
Stay tuned, and be patient with me... Gotta go "ice" my shoulder before bed...

Peace,
Linda

"The truth is you don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed." Eminem
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