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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Karen LOVES Color!

Karen Stone of Dallas Texas was one of the well-known teachers at Maine Quilts this year. We attended her Trunk Show on Friday at noon. Not only was Karen entertaining, her quilts were really something to see. Karen loves color!! You no doubt are familiar with her name, as she has been publishing her designs since 1993. She has won numerous awards, including first places in international competitions. Her quilts have appeared on the covers of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, and she has appeared on HGTV's Simply Quilts. She is probably best known for her Indian Orange Peel design and her New York Beauties. She brought many quilts to show us - I am going to show you just a few. (These photos were snapped very quickly as the gals holding them up did not stop for long, so you may see a few heads, backs of chairs, etc.) I am sure you will be inspired by her wild colours and interesting designs. Enjoy!
"Being an artist, whether through music, words, color or shape, begins with seeing or hearing something for the first time, and holding onto that same wonder and excitement with every form of art you create. And being a master is when you apply that same attitude to everything you do in life." ~ Amy Larsen Davenport

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A few more favourites...

As promised here are a few more of my favourites from Maine Quilts 2009 held last week in Augusta. It is often difficult to get a good photo, taken straight on, at a Quilt Show. You no doubt noticed in the previous post's shots that I cut off the edges- that quilt had a lovely scalloped edge but I just could not get it all in. If you go here you will see the entire quilt, edge to edge. This next one titled "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" was also one of my most favourites. As you can see I could not get a straight on shot of it, so sorry for the slight angled view.. This quilt was 83" square and appeared a more "contemporary" version of the traditional Lone Star design. Over 700 Swarovski crystals gave this quilt some serious "sparkle". It too was beautiful with exquisite machine quilting (done on a long arm). It was made by Janet-Lee Santeusanio of Hampton Falls NH. I think this gal has wonderful colour sense. If you click on the closeup , you can see some of the crystals.

Another beauty was this Storm at Sea, by Marilyn Prince of Houlton Maine. I had seen it before at the Houlton Guild's Show but who doesn't love another chance to see and admire a beautiful quilt? I love her colour choices, with the soft aqua as the background fabric. I have always loved the Storm at Sea design, and plan to do one myself one day, but I suspect it will be a Miniature rather than full size.

Perhaps mine might look like this Miniature, by Eleanor Dickens of Kennebunk, Maine. She made this with the leftover scraps after making a queen size Storm at Sea for a friend. It was hand-quilted. I loved the mixture of blues and greens; to me this quilt has lots of motion when you look at it. Don't get sea-sick!!

Applique by hand is NOT my thing, but I sure do admire those who do it well. This wall sized quilt (58" x 67") was done by Janet Gigee of Sayre PA. I love Jacobean designs and her fabric choices were wonderful. (Of course how can you go wrong with those gorgeous batiks???) Her hand-quilting was amazing. Such tiny even stitches! Just beautiful!

And lastly- to celebrate a HOT day in Freddy Beach- yes the SUN is SHINING - wohooo-and the temp. is 30 C in my backyard right now.... how's this for a hot looking quilt? This New York Beauty was wild! I don't often work with these colours, but this was great - bright to say the least!! I have always loved New York Beauty- it's another one that's on my "Want to Do Someday" list... Karen Stone who has done so many wild and wacky New York Beauties was one of the teachers at Maine Quilts 2009. We enjoyed her Trunk Show at noon on Friday. Perhaps I'll show you a few of her NY Beauties tomorrow. I'll bet she liked this one! Made by Louisa Enright of Camden Maine, it is 47" square and is called "Let There Be Light".
Until tomorrow...stay cool!
"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing and the lawnmower is broken".

Monday, July 27, 2009

How do you choose a favourite?

When walking through a Quilt Show, especially if it is a large one, how do you pick one favourite? When they hand you that little ballot, to vote for the one you feel should win "Viewer's Choice", what do YOU do? Do you pick the one you would like to take home? or the one you feel is most deserving because of the workmanship? The one made with your favourite colours? Or the one you would want to rescue if someone yelled FIRE!!! ? It's usually a difficult decision to choose only one.... I often have at least half a dozen favs!!
Sometimes there is one, or several, that stand out above all the rest. At Maine Quilts 2009, this was the top winner of the Judged Quilts - It was titled "Darwin's Diamonds and Flowers", and was made by Ronda Kae Beyer from Oregon. It is 80" square, an original design, and is hand and machine appliqued and machine quilted. It was inspired by her trip to Darwin Australia as a high school exchange student. Her workmanship was exceptional and the quilting was exquisite- I would say probably the best I have ever seen. (You can click on these photos for a closer look). Her colour choices were beautiful, I thought, and look at her backing- what a perfect choice. One would almost wonder if she got the backing first and chose her other fabrics for the top based on it...? It was indeed, worthy of top prize, in my mind. Below are several closeups. Tomorrow I'll show you a few others which I thought were exceptional quilts...



"Every quilter has a masterpiece within..."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig!

It's great to go away, and just as great to come home! There is nothing like your own bed in a quiet house! My buddy Sue and I had a wonderful trip to Maine; we managed to shop for two days and then had two days at "Maine Quilts 2009". We had lots of fun and many laughs- laughter is good for the soul, indeed!
We stopped in Bangor and Waterville on our way to Augusta. Nothing like a few hours of "power-shopping" to break up the monotony of the long drive! We came across some wonderful sales - seeing 50% and 75% off sure makes you feel like spending some money! JoAnn's had a great button sale so I picked out a few to add to my "button stash"......We stopped at a few fabric shops and quilt shops and did our bit to help out the Maine economy! I also found a few sweet things for Laura's dorm room...
Someone told us The Red Barn was THE place to eat in Augusta if you like seafood, so we checked it out... not fancy but excellent seafood chowder- milky, not thick- just the way I like it.. and chock full of haddock, shrimp, scallops and lobster- or as they say in Maine- lobstah! No potatoes - only seafood! When the place is full of "locals" you know it must be good, because the locals always know where to go...

On Thursday we hit all our fav spots in Freeport, including LL Beans of course, and then continued on to Portland. We were thrilled to find out that the best ice-cream in the world is now available in South Portland - yes the Cold Stone Creamery is now partnered with Tim Hortons on Maine Mall Road, so of course we HAD to indulge... CSC is also opening soon in Bangor, Brewer, Waterville, Freeport and Presque Isle. Wahoooo! If you've never experienced Cold Stone Creamery- you don't know what you're missing! Check them out here before your next trip and see if there's a CSC where you are's well worth finding. I love the name of their three sizes- "Like It", "Love It" and "Gotta Have It" (For the record- Gotta Have It is just too big!!)
Thursday evening was our chance to get a preview of the Show and Merchant's Mall as we attended the Champagne Preview and Show Opening. We were not disappointed. As usual there were many beautiful quilts to admire and the merchants had many things to tempt one to open their wallet. Beautiful fabrics, threads, books, patterns, embellishments - anything a quilter's little heart might desire was there for the taking! I tried to be good, I really did! But there were a few things I just had to bring home!!
Friday and Saturday we spent in class; I took 2 days of Crazy Quilting with Valerie Bothell who owns The Pink Bunny in Wichita Kansas. Val was filling in for Carole Samples who could not make it. Sue took classes with Carol Taylor and Karen Stone. Excellent lunchtime lectures were by Karen Stone and Ami Simms. Karen's quilts were amazing, and Ami kept us in stitches (sorry- no pun intended!) the whole 75 minutes. We both enjoyed our classes and came home with new skills, ideas and inspirations... And thats what it's all about! Most importantly I think I've finally got the "stitchin' bug" again. Stay tuned to see some CQing soon! Tomorrow I'll share some more pics from the Show with you.
Quilting is like love - enter it with abandon or not at all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bloomin' Lilies...

As promised here are a few more pics of my bloomin' lilies! They will be at their peak this next week or so.... wouldn't you know- right when I'm away for a few days... They are beautiful though, don't you think? Worth the time and energy spent on destroying the Lily Beetles. Those little devils are still around- I find one every now and again, so if you have liles continue to be vigilant!
The color is a bit off in these pics- this first one which burst into bloom this morning, is actually a lovely pale peach - I love it amidst the baby's breath. This red one, called Gran Paradiso is a rich bronzey red. The yellow one below is a yellow spotted Turk's Cap lily - it is new this year as is the Gran Paradiso. The last one is a lovely cream with a slight touch of yellow. It's always fun to plant new bulbs, because what you get is not always what the picture on the package showed... I've been "surprised" a few times...but that's all part of the fun of gardening...

I'm off to Augusta Maine tomorrow, for the Maine State Quilt Show and two days of classes. So, toodley-do for now....
"If you would have a mind at peace, a heart that cannot harden, go find a door that opens wide upon a lovely garden." ~ French Proverb

Monday, July 20, 2009

What's Bloomin' This Week?

Care to take a stroll through my garden? My lilies are coming into bloom, so thought I'd share a few photos with you. My paternal Grandmother's name was Lily - actually Lillian I think, but her friends called her Lil. I barely remember her, as she died when I was not quite five. The only clear memory I have of her is that she kept a jar of maple buds up in her kitchen cupboard and she always treated me to one or two when I popped in to visit.. (I can still picture what shelf they were on). I often think of her when I see my lilies. The bed they are in is no more than 50 feet from where she lived. I think I recall that she loved flowers although she never had much of a garden, that I can recall anyway. But I'd like to think she would like all my Lilies...

It's another busy week, and I'm trying to get ready for another little trip away- off to the Maine State Quilt Show in a few days. I'll be taking two days of classes, plus squeezing in some serious shopping time, if we're lucky... So this is brief tonight. I'll try to post again tomorrow, and then you won't hear from me for a few days.
"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity". ~ Lindley Karstens

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tea for

Today one of the things I accomplished next door was "finishing the dining room". I washed and packed up the last of the odds and ends, including twenty bone china cups and saucers. The good china and silver was dealt with long ago, but these are odd cups and saucers.. what does one do with them these days? I don't even drink tea!! However I can't bear to "dispose" of them... some of them are so pretty... I have told Laura they are hers some day, once she has a place of her own. However, she may not even want them... I don't think young people these days are "into" bone china"...???
Does anyone out there in blogland have any interesting ideas for displaying cups and saucers? My buffet is full with my own china and crystal... I'm trying to think of a unique way to display some of the prettier ones... any ideas?

And - pray tell - WHAT does one do with 77 Readers Digest Condensed Books??? Yes, I said seventy-seven.... Any takers???
"It is never too late to be what you might have been." ~ George Eliot

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"History Well Told..."

Yesterday I took a break and spent most of the day at Kings Landing Historical Settlement which is about 20 minutes upriver from Fredericton. Kings Landing, nestled on the banks of the beautiful Saint John River, is an "outdoor living history museum" which represents life in the central Saint John River Valley between 1780-1910, covering the time period of the Loyalists to the late Victorians. The costumed staff interpret daily life in the settlement in buildings complete with authentic artifacts, furniture, tools and equipment. If you are at all interested in history it is a fascinating place to spend a day... or two!
Part of Kings Landing is built on land which belonged to my father's grandfather which is part of the reason my Dad loved it there; I too feel a special tie to the place, I always feel a closeness to my Dad when I am there. Also one of my uncles worked there as it was being built. Kings Landing came about as a result of the Mactaquac Dam being built on the river- this was going to create a huge headpond which would flood 100 kms. upriver to Woodstock. This flooding would destroy many homes, farms and long established settlements along the river, so historically and architecturally significant buildings were carefully moved out of the flood plain to Prince William to create a new settlement - Kings Landing. Not only is it picturesque - the rolling green fields sloping down to the river - but it seems everywhere you look there is a photo just waiting to be taken. I could wander around there every day for a week and take several hundred pics each day, no problem... Between the buildings, the costumed staff, the animals and the beautiful landscape... well - thank goodness for digital cameras! The cost of film would be outrageous!

One of the most exciting aspects of Kings Landing, to me, is their education program which runs full tilt through the summer. They have two wonderful programs for children called Visiting Cousins (for 9-14 yr. olds) and Family Kin (for 12-15 yr. olds). Children can have a unique "summer camp experience" like no other. They spend 5 days at KL immersed in history and experiencing the lifestyle of the 1800's. They act as visiting relatives to the Kings Landing families on site, dress in period costumes and participate in daily chores and activities, learning necessary life skills. The girls do such things as butter churning, candlemaking, wool and flax processing, cooking on the open hearth and needlepoint, and the boys learn skills from the village blacksmith, cooper, sawyer, printer and farmer. They also attend the one room 1840 schoolhouse daily. The learning continues in the evening after the site closes to the public, with songs, games and drama. They sleep "off site" at the nearby Education Centre. Once they have been a Visiting Cousin, and they are between 12 and 15, they can return as a "Family Kin"; during this week they specialize in one area of activity as if they are learning a trade or occupation to prepare for their life's work, as they would have done in the 19th century. It is a wonderful program- my daughter Laura fell in love with it her first year as a Cousin, and returned the next 3 years as Kin. The following summer she was a volunteer on site, and now is full time summer staff for the second year. She LOVES it - I think she would live there 24/7 if she could... Laura works in the Long House - yesterday when we walked in she was making a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble which she then cooked in a Dutch Oven over coals on the hearth.

Yesterday my good friend Carole and I went up to see her three granddaughters who are there for the first time as Visiting Cousins. We followed them around for the day, taking lots of pics and watching them do their chores and activities. (Carole is a former KL volunteer and staff member as well, so we both thoroughly enjoyed returning to this place which is so special to us both.) They looked so cute in their bonnets and dresses. Just before we left they were having some fun, playing Hoop and Stick, Tug of War and Croquet.... Kings Landing is more than just's "history well told"!

What a great day! The sun even shone most of the day, a rare thing this summer, it seems....

Memories are like keepsakes - always to be treasured...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Difficult Decisions...

I will no doubt be blogging infrequently the next little while - I have a huge job ahead as we finish emptying my parent's home and prepare to demolish it. What an emotional job this is... It would no doubt be a bit easier if this house was not right next door to our home. In one way it's easier because it's closeby so I can run over and work in short spurts when it suits my schedule, but the decision to tear it down has been heart-wrenching. It is the home my parents spent their entire married life in, and of course the home in which my brothers and I grew up. It now belongs to me. Because of it's age and deteriorating condition, I would have to put a pile of money into it to bring it up to current "code". After renting it for a few years, it was an easy decision to no longer wish to be a "landlord".... The fact that it is between our property and my older brother's eliminates the option of selling, so it will be torn down and the land added to our lot. Brian thinks we'll build a smaller "retirement home" there someday... I'm not so sure... we'll see.
Anyway, I've been battling the guilt and all the other emotions that accompany such a decision, but the time has come to just "get 'er done"... I've been ruthlessly getting rid of the last of the "stuff" that was left. Last night I spent 4 hours going through a few old photos and hundreds upon hundreds of slides - both my parents dabbled in photography for a while - they both struggled with using 35 mm. cameras. I did find many "keepers" but many more which were destined for "file 13" . I think when the dust settles, I'll put together a slide show for my family to view- too many good shots of days gone by, not to gather and have a few laughs and share the memories... Some of the styles... and hairstyles.... what WERE we thinking? For sure my kids will find it amusing!!

Anyway..thats why you'll likely be hearing from me less frequently for a bit. I just have to get this done, even though my heart is really not in it...

Home is where friendships are formed and families are grown, where joy is shared and true love is known, where memories are made and seeds of life are sown....

Saturday, July 11, 2009

For your Hummingbird Feeder...

We are back from our little holiday trip to Nova Scotia. It was great to visit old friends and neighbours in the Annapolis Valley - it's been much too long since our last visit. We were amazed at all the changes: commercial development, new subdivisions, etc. When driving past our old house, which we built in 1988, we couldn't believe how the trees had grown and things had "matured"... Sure makes you realize that time is passing...
We didn't do much shopping, but did visit one of our favourite places in Halifax - Lee Valley. For those of you who are familiar with Lee Valley, you know that they have lots of wonderful things for the homeowner and gardener. I was on a mission- to pick up some Ant Moats for several friends. If you feed Hummers, no doubt you have experienced the problem of ants wanting to get at that yummy sugary water. I have tried many "home remedies" all to no avail. Lee Valley has the answer- the "Ant Moat" is basically a plastic cup which holds water, above your feeder. It works - ants cannot swim, so cannot get past the "moat". And I have found an added bonus- the other little birds which feed in my backyard (finches, chickadees, etc.) love to perch on the moat and get a drink. Here is a finch, ready to scoot down for a quick sip! So - if you have an ant problem at your Hummer Feeder, visit Lee Valley and order yourself an Ant Moat. They even have free shipping until July 19th!
A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. Chinese Proverb

Monday, July 6, 2009

Finally Finished.. in time for July 1st NEXT year?!

Well, here it is... all done. I just have to stitch the hanging sleeve onto the back. We are off on a little holiday trip tomorrow, so that's a good job to get done in the car. I am pleased with the way it turned out, not so sure I want to put all my pins through it now!! My friend Gail has said she will make me a label for the back, with the CQA/ACC logo on it, on her embroidery machine so that will look very nice...
I haven't blogged for a few days, have been busy trying to get things organized for hubby and I to take off for a few days on a little trip. He's a workaholic and getting him to go away for more than a few hours is a major undertaking/accomplishment... Last summer, we got away for a whole day and a half!!! So, we're off to Halifax and the Annapolis Valley to visit friends and former neighbours.. it's been way too long since our last visit. Sometimes you wonder if a trip is worth it, for all you have to do to get ready... We haven't gone away very often and left our kids "home alone"... but they're certainly old enough now to manage... it's just the organizing meals, groceries, etc. etc... At least this time I'm not worrying too much about my gardens needing watering while we're gone; Mother Nature has certainly been looking after that! We've had over three weeks with daily rain.... and NO sun. It's getting depressing. I'm ready for some sun and heat. Bring it on! Plants in pots are rotting, moulding, and just generally looking very unhappy... I've lost geraniums, lobelia, bedding plants... Mushrooms are sprouting throughout the lawn and flower beds... Some mornings when I shower I think I can see green mould growing between my toes and my fingers are starting to web...just kidding, but seriously, enough is enough!! Let's have some summer NOW!
I must say though, the lawns and trees are looking very lush, and my hostas are loving all the moisture...
Have you ever noticed.. you never see recipes for leftover chocolate...?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Canada!

Happy 142nd birthday Canada! Last night as I lay in bed trying to get to sleep (one of those nights when I was awake till at least 3a.m.) I was thinking about all the beautiful spots in Canada I have been lucky to visit.. too many to name. I feel fortunate to have had the experience of driving coast to coast - from New Brunswick to the northern tip of Vancouver Island-to see our beautiful country.
I was lucky to have parents who loved to travel, and they believed in taking us with them. So I guess I come by the travel bug honestly... My first BIG trip was a 3 week drive to Florida and back when I was 7 years old. My biggest concern at that age was being away from home for my birthday, but it was a memorable one in Florida - I can remember visiting "Parrot Jungle" that day, and having my pic taken with parrots perched on my head and outstretched arms... (They have very sharp claws, by the way!!!) We made many stops along the way - one in particular I remember was Washington DC. I guess I proved to be a good traveller, because after that, we always did a trip somewhere each year. Often it was in the Maritimes: to PEI, around the Cabot Trail or the southern coast of Nova Scotia, Grand Manan, Campobello Island, Fundy National Park; often further afield- to Quebec City, Montreal, Niagara Falls, etc. My parents always made sure that I was seeing new things and learning about my country.
It's too bad that more people don't make this a priority these days- prying the kids away from the TV, computer and video games and hitting the road to see Canada. You don't have to go too far to find interesting places to visit- right here in our own province we have beautiful parks, both provincial and national with trails to hike, wonderful interpretive programs, beach walks and more; heritage sites such as Kings Landing , a living history museum where you can learn about life in the 1800's in the Saint John River Valley - one can even participate in hands-on activities, which makes the learning so much more real. New Brunswick is well known as a craft and cultural center- in fact, Fredericton has been designated the Cultural Capital of Canada for 2009, so why not take advantage: visit the many art galleries and fine craft studios, or take the kids (grandkids) to a free concert, free outdoor summer theatre or plan to attend one of the many Summer Festivals.
If you want a suggestion of a really great trip to "celebrate" Canada - here's mine: Take the family to Ottawa for July 1st. What a party!! Every Canadian should do this at least once! The feeling of national pride is amazing, and although the crowds are large, they close off the streets near Parliament Hill and it is just one big street party. I've been twice, the latter with my two children, and I felt safe enough to let them wander a bit on their own. The fireworks alone are worth the trip...
Okay, I'm starting to sound like a tourism commercial.. I'll stop now. I'm just trying to say- we are so lucky to live in such a wonderful corner of the world - celebrate being Canadian by getting out and taking advantage of what our wonderful region has to offer. You don't have to spend a lot of money and travel thousands of miles to enjoy Canada- you can start right here at home. Of all the many places I've travelled to, I've yet to see a spot I'd rather live in... there's no place like Canada!! I am one proud Canadian!
Sorry I do not have a pic of my finished Maple Leaf wallhanging to show you- it's still in the quilting stage... but I'll post a pic as soon as it's finished, you can be sure. I'm heading off to work on it now... Happy Canada Day!!
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
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