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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year and Goodbye Turkey!

Well here we are at the last day of 2010! Can you believe it? Time sure does fly. I wish you all a very Happy New Year, a year full of good health, peace, happiness and prosperity. A year that brings you all you are wishing for.. hoping for... Thanks to all my followers and occasional readers for making my Blogging worthwhile- I enjoy and appreciate your comments and emails. I hope you'll continue to follow my ramblings in 2011.
If you are out celebrating tonight, please pass over the car keys to someone else and get yourself home safely. As for me, I'll likely be curled up with a good book and Ollie on my lap....

At the request of one of my readers, here is the recipe for Turkey Broccoli Braid that I mentioned yesterday. This recipe came from a Pampered Chef party a number of years ago. It's a great way to use up leftover roasted chicken or turkey. Basically it's a salad-type mixture of chicken or turkey baked in a Pillsbury crescent dough crust. Quick, easy and yummy...

Turkey Broccoli Braid

2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, chopped
1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped fairly small
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Miracle Whip)
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 teaspoon dried dillweed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pkgs. refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375F. Chop chicken or turkey, broccoli and red pepper. Place in mixing bowl along with grated cheese. In a smaller bowl, combine mayo, garlic, salt and dill. Stir well to blend. Add dressing to turkey mixture, stirring well to coat.

Open and unroll 1 pkg. of crescent rolls along length of your largest cookie sheet, placing it to one side rather than right down the middle of sheet. Do not seperate rolls, but rather, use your fingers to push dough together along perforations. Repeat with second pkg., laying second dough lengthwise beside the first, again pushing dough together with fingers to "seal" along perforations and joining well the two packages down the middle "seam". **

Spread filling evenly lengthwise down the "middle" of your dough. Now on each side of filling, cut dough horizontally into strips about 1-1.5 inches wide, stopping an inch or so from the filling. Lift one strip on each side across filling to meet in center, and twist together one "turn". Continue down the length of braid until all filling is covered with strips of dough; tuck ends up to form a rim at each end. Brush egg white over dough using pastry brush and sprinkle with almonds. Bake about 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Yield - 10 servings.

** After making this several times, I decided there was a bit too much crust for my liking. Now when I add the second pkg of dough, I cut off a lengthwise strip of almost half the second pkg. I roll this up and just make several smaller crescent rolls from it, baking them at the same time. I like it better with a bit less crust, but try it with the full 2 pkgs and see how you like it.

Here is another recipe you might like to try if you still have some turkey left. I have no photos for this one as I have not made it this year, but it is quick, easy and yummy too- Curried Turkey Pate. It's great with crackers if you are entertaining, or just for your own enjoyment.

Curried Turkey Pate

2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mango chutney
1 - 2 tsp. curry powder (to taste)

Whiz turkey in food processor to cut up finely. Cream softened cream cheese, add all other ingds., mix well. Make at least one day ahead. Keep in fridge. Will freeze well too.


New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's All Over but the Leftovers

Another Christmas has come and gone. We enjoyed a nice quiet family holiday.. the weather didn't bother us as we had no travels planned. We've just been rather lazy, taking it easy, getting caught up on reading and nibbling on more than a few chocolates. And turkey... yummy turkey dinners... hot and cold turkey sandwiches.. turkey salad.. turkey soup and tonight - the last of the turkey, Laura's favourite - Turkey Broccoli Braid. Yummm
As you can see I have an amaryllis in bloom - it's a double and there is a second stalk as well, so we'll be enjoying it for a while. I LOVE fresh blooms in the winter, they seem to make the cold weather a bit more bearable. Although the bloom looks rather red/orange here, it is actually a beautiful coral color. The photo on the box showed a soft pink and yellow... hmmm, guess you don't always get what's shown in the photo when it comes to bulbs. My bulb from last year is also budded and will be open in a few short days. It's called Apple Blossom and is a very delicate pink and white combination.

How nice it has been the last 5 days to indulge myself in several good books. I have finished Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, and Dewey, The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter. Cutting for Stone, is the story of twin brothers born of a secret union between a nursing Indian Nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother's death and their father's immediate disappearance, the twins grow up amidst the upheaval as Ethiopia teeters on the brink of revolution. Moving between Addis Ababa and New York City, and back to Ethiopia, this is a story of love, betrayal, medicine and a shared connection between two brothers raised by doctors in a mission hospital. I found this story rich and absorbing, and think it would make a great movie.

I bought Dewey for Laura for Christmas and five days later, three of us have read it. It's a heart-warming story about a cat, who is far more than "just a cat". It's a story of love, courage and determination, set in small town Iowa. Dewey is an extraordinary feline who manages to bring a small town together with his sixth sense of who needs him most. This is a tale any animal lover would love. Five stars from this cat-lover!

I received Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Christmas from my friend and fellow book-lover Barb. I think it might be next on my "To Read" list... Stay tuned...


A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
~ Chinese proverb

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by your loved ones. Your comments, emails and friendship have been a blessing through 2010 and I look forward to more fun together in the new year. I wish you all the peace and joy of the season.


Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow, will find it hard to sleep tonight ~ Mel Torme

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Only One More Day....

My Christmas sewing is done. Yippee! Among other small projects I've made several sausage pillowcases. Have you heard of them? They are so quick and easy, and... well... almost addictive. When made with bright colorful children's prints, they make a very nice gift for that special child in your life. I found some great hockey fabric a few weeks ago in Moncton and decided my great nephew Nathan might like his own special pillowcase, so guess what he's getting for Christmas tucked in with his gift?
There are lots of tutorials available if you don't know how to do this quick easy project. Just Google "sausage pillowcase". A number of gals in my guild have made many of these- they use slightly different measurements as they liked the proportions a little better. Here are the amounts of fabrics we use:
For the main fabric 27" x WOF (width of fabric)
For the contrast strip 2" - 2.5" x WOF (I cut mine 2.25")
For the cuff 9" x WOF
The pillowcase shown here is Nathan's. After Christmas I'll show you the basketball one I made for Mark. (Silly me- I forgot to take a pic before wrapping it and it's now under the tree...)
I hope your sewing projects for gift giving are all finished and wrapped too...Only one day left to go...


"No gift is too small to give, nor too simple to receive, if it's chosen with thoughtfulness and given with love". ~Franz Kafka

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Flash Mob Fun

Tonight I had a new experience - one should always be open to new things, right? It was fun, exhilarating.... and downright nerve wracking. Roughly half of the large Ladies Choir that I sing in, did a Flash Mob in the food court of our local shopping mall. It was totally unrehearsed, and pulled off with very little organization. Our directions were simple: Show up and don't be late. Find a spot, and sing loudly. That was it. For those of you who have never heard of a Flash Mob, it is a "surprise sudden mass gathering, unanticipated, except by its participants". Most involve a musical performance, perhaps with choreography. Probably the most well known Flash Mob is the T Mobile Dance Commercial which you can watch here.
Of course, we did not dance. We just sang, unaccompanied, one piece - Go Tell It on the Mountain. I was lucky(?) enough to be in the first group of four to start, so yes, we were a little nervous, having no idea what the reaction would be. But we were fine once we got going and other members stood and joined in. The looks on people's faces was priceless, and the applause at the end told us that they did indeed enjoy this surprise performance. Merry Christmas Shoppers!
You can watch the two videos which have been posted to Youtube here and here.


"Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!" ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pussycat Wishes

I'm busily wrapping, baking, stitching and still have a little sewing to do. But Ollie is all ready for Christmas, so he's been helping me... (wink wink). He just wanted to wish everyone a Meowy Cat-mas! He can hardly wait for Santa Claws....


"Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling." ~ Edna Ferber

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's getting close....

Today is my Mother's birthday. She would have been 94 today - Happy Birthday Mum!
Befitting the day, I thought I'd add some pics of a few Angels to go with the answers for the Christmas Carol Quiz. (How did you do - could you get all of them?)
I have a small collection of angels which decorate my kitchen at this time of year, a few of my favorites are shown here. The first one was made by my best buddy Sue a number of years ago, I love her quilted wings. The rest of the collection are a variety, including Willow Tree, Jim Shore, some from far away lands and a host of others picked up here and there over the years. Perhaps I'll share a few more another day.
Things have shifted into high gear here the last few days. Shopping is done, except for a few things for Mark which I cannot get 'til he is home tomorrow. Check. Cards and letters are 98% done, will be finished tonight. Check. Decorating is done, except for the main tree which is now up, and will be finished up tonight. Check. Stitching gifts finished. Check. So this weeks focus is wrapping and baking and a few quick sewing projects. I'm beginning to feel like I'm gonna make it!!! :)

Here are the answers to the Quiz -
  1. Colorless Yuletide White Christmas
  2. Castaneda Seed in a Conflagration Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
  3. Singular Yearning for Twin Anterior Incisors All I Want for Christmas is my 2 Front Teeth
  4. Righteous Darkness O Holy Night
  5. Arrival Time: 24:00 Hours/Weather: Cloudless It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
  6. Loyal Followers Advance Oh Come All Ye Faithful
  7. Red Man En Route to Borough Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  8. Ecstasy Toward The Orb Joy to the World
  9. The Gross Square Root Festive 24 Hour Intervals The 12 Days of Christmas
  10. Jocund Elderly Martyr Lacking Five Cent Pieces Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
  11. Musical Clanging Objects Composed Of A White Malleable Element Silver Bells
  12. Oh Yuletide Tall Woody Plant Oh Christmas Tree
  13. Boreal Ice Crystal Homo Sapiens Frosty the Snowman
  14. Female Ancestor Collides with Rangifer Tarandus Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
  15. Expect My Arrival at My Domicile this Yule I'll Be Home for Christmas
  16. Perambulating in Terrain of Awe 12/21 to 3/19 Walking in a Winter Wonderland
  17. Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  18. Quiescent Nocturnal Period Silent Night
  19. An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good given to the terrestrial sphere. Joy to the World
  20. Seraphim We Aurally Detected In The Stratosphere Angels We Have Heard on High
  21. The Christmas preceding all others The First Noel
  22. Small municipality in Judea southeast of Jerusalem Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
  23. The Slight Percussionist Lad Little Drummer Boy
  24. Omnipotent Supreme Being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  25. Tranquility upon the terrestrial sphere. Peace on Earth
  26. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals. Frosty the Snowman
  27. Expectation of arrival to populated area by mythical, magical masculine perennial gift-giver. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  28. Natal celebration devoid of color. White Christmas
  29. In awe of the nocturnal time span characterized by religiosity. O Holy Night
  30. Geographic state of fantasy during the season of Mother Nature's dormancy. Winter Wonderland
  31. In a distant location the existence of an improvised unit of newborn children's slumber Away in a Manger
  32. Proceed forth declaring upon a specific geological alpine formation. Go Tell It on the Mountain
  33. Our Desire Is Your Yuletide Cheer We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  34. Celestial messengers from splendid empires Angels from the Realms of Glory
  35. Ovine Caretakers Supervised Their Charges In The Period Past Twilight While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night
  36. What Offspring Abides Thus What Child Is This?
  37. Song Of Joy From Harmonic Hollow Metallic Devices Carol of the Bells
  38. Are You Experiencing Parallel Auditory Input? Do You Hear What I Hear?
  39. I Auditorily Perceived Clapper Containers At The Peak Of The Yuletide Season I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
  40. I Observed A Trio Of Vessels Returning From Yachting I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing

"Christmas, the time of year that has the impact of a childhood story and the dreams of the future all rolled into the presents that we give our loved ones." ~ Joseph Kalinger

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How Well Do You Know Your Christmas Carols?

As I said in my previous post, I love the music of Christmas. The old traditional carols, the new songs, the glorious sacred music like O Holy Night and the cheery songs like Walking in a Winter Wonderland. Last year I posted a Christmas Carol Quiz which was quite popular. If you missed it you can find it here. So I thought I'd continue the fun this year. See how many of these you can identify. I'll post the answers in a few days. Have fun!

  1. Colorless Yuletide
  2. Castaneda Seed in a Conflagration
  3. Singular Yearning for Twin Anterior Incisors
  4. Righteous Darkness
  5. Arrival Time: 24:00 Hours/Weather: Cloudless
  6. Loyal Followers Advance
  7. Red Man En Route to Borough
  8. Ecstasy Toward The Orb
  9. The Gross Square Root Festive 24 Hour Intervals
  10. Jocund Elderly Martyr Lacking Five Cent Pieces
  11. Musical Clanging Objects Composed Of A White Malleable Element
  12. Oh Yuletide Tall Woody Plant
  13. Boreal Ice Crystal Homo Sapiens
  14. Female Ancestor Collides with Rangifer Tarandus
  15. Expect My Arrival at My Domicile this Yule
  16. Perambulating in Terrain of Awe 12/21 to 3/21
  17. Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds
  18. Quiescent Nocturnal Period
  19. An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good given to the terrestrial sphere.
  20. Seraphim We Aurally Detected In The Stratosphere
  21. The Christmas preceding all others
  22. Small municipality in Judea southeast of Jerusalem
  23. The Slight Percussionist Lad
  24. Omnipotent Supreme Being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males
  25. Tranquility upon the terrestrial sphere.
  26. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals.
  27. Expectation of arrival to populated area by mythical, magical masculine perennial gift-giver.
  28. Natal celebration devoid of color.
  29. In awe of the nocturnal time span characterized by religiosity.
  30. Geographic state of fantasy during the season of Mother Nature's dormancy.
  31. In a distant location the existence of an improvised unit of newborn children's slumber
  32. Proceed forth declaring upon a specific geological alpine formation.
  33. Our Desire Is Your Yuletide Cheer
  34. Celestial messengers from splendid empires
  35. Ovine Caretakers Supervised Their Charges In The Period Past Twilight
  36. What Offspring Abides Thus
  37. Song Of Joy From Harmonic Hollow Metallic Devices
  38. Are You Experiencing Parallel Auditory Input?
  39. I Auditorily Perceived Clapper Containers At The Peak Of The Yuletide Season
  40. I Observed A Trio Of Vessels Returning From Yachting

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air". ~ W.T. Ellis

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fa La La

Another one down! This afternoon was our Ladies Choir Christmas Concert, and it went very well. Our two directors are so wonderful and it is such a thrill to sing under their leadership. We currently have about 125 members, but for various reasons (primarily illness) I think there were only about 110 there today for the performance. But you can just imagine- 110 voices- when we do "let loose" with the volume... well let's just say no one in the audience fell asleep! These two photos were taken by DD Laura with my camera, during our pre-concert warmup- there are still 20 or so missing from the group at this point. So picture 20 more bodies in there and you can see that we are "pretty close". Our special guests this year were a local elementary school's boys choir - the cutest little boys, Grades 3-5, dressed in white shirts and bow ties....
For me, music is one of the best parts of Christmas. I love the traditional carols, as well as the new songs we hear at this time of year. And today was a very special day. We, the choir, enjoy it every bit as much as the audience does. Thanks to all my friends who attended. It makes it more special to be singing to people you love...


"After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
~ Aldous Huxley

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cheeky Visitor!

Look who's been in my backyard, having an early Christmas feast! This bold squirrel has been having a great time figuring out how to get at my suet block and it looks like he's finally got it. The cheeky little devil kept us entertained for a while with his antics while he contemplated how to shimmy down the wire to get to the cage. Much as I dislike him stealing the bird's food, he is entertaining, and he does have to eat too, after all... I wonder if he has a tummy ache now...?
We have a lot of squirrels around our place. I remember how much my mother enjoyed watching their antics in the trees. She used to quote the verse below to me when I was young - I can still hear her reciting it...


The Squirrel

Whisky frisky,
Hippity hop
Up he goes
To the treetop!

Whirly twirly,
Round and round
Down he scampers
To the ground.

Furly, curly,
What a tail!
Tall as a feather,
Broad as a sail!

Where's his supper?
In the shell,
Snappity, crackity,
Out it fell.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Squared

Here is my finished Disappearing Nine Patch table topper. After rejecting both Plan A and Plan B, I ended up just doing straight line squares in a moss green thread, with my walking foot. Quick, easy, no fuss no muss. Just what I needed. Not fancy, but done. And these days, done is good! After a quick trip to Moncton on Saturday, I got the dark green paisley print from this collection for the binding, very happy with that choice. How are you coming along with your Christmas sewing projects?


May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope,
The spirit of Christmas which is peace,
The heart of Christmas which is love.
~ Ada V. Hendricks

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holly Angel

Here is another cheery little cherub to perk up your day. Isn't she cute? Her name is Holly Angel and she is #MHCA 19 in the Mill Hill Charmed Angels series. As I told you last week, this is an older series so unlikely you would find the kit in your favourite needlework shop these days, but it could be ordered from Wichelt I'm sure, as it is still shown on their website. She measures 6"w by 2.5"h.
I think I should have bought stock in Mill Hill years ago....
As you have no doubt noticed, I have slowed down with my blogging in the last week. The pressure of "stuff to be done" is getting to me so I'm spending more time working on projects, shopping and doing all that other Christmasy stuff that mothers do... I'm sure you understand. So the posts may not be as frequent over the next few weeks, but rest assured, I AM busy. I have finished the quilting and binding of the Disappearing Nine Patch table topper, come back tomorrow for a look...


Carve quiet space in your life and in the silence you will hear the angels.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oh Inspiration, where art thou?

I have my Disappearing Nine Patch all sewn together. After playing around with some different layouts, I ended up with this one - the first one I showed you a few days back. I now have it layered, pinned and ready to quilt. I am beginning to feel that "mounting December pressure" and when I flip the calendar to December 1, I start making lists of all the things I have to get done. Right now, it's a long list. So this has got to be a "quick and easy - there, it's done" type quilting job. Inspiration had better find me tonight 'cause I'm going to be at it in the morning....


Quilting is like love - enter it with abandon or not at all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Memories of my Mother

I miss my Mum. She passed away 8 years ago today, just three weeks short of her 86th birthday. After a lifetime of good health, she suffered two heart attacks in 1993 and a stroke in 1996. It left her with little speech and weakness on one side. But, being the determined lady that she was, she continued to live in her own home for 6 more years, with some help, until the day she died, peacefully on her own couch - just the way she wanted it. I was alone with her that day; we had shared a nice lunch, ending with some yummy chocolate. Then she went and laid down for a nap as she often did after lunch.... and peacefully slipped away. What a way to go..... we should all be so fortunate. (I can only hope I too will die with the lingering taste of chocolate in my mouth... sigh...)
My mother was indeed quite a lady. She grew up in a rural area, the oldest of six. After leaving home at 15 to live with her grandparents in order to finish high school, she then continued on to become a nurse. She was never afraid of hard work and continued to nurse for a number of years while raising her children and helping my father in his business pursuits. She eventually did all the "bookwork" and accounting, and was certainly the backbone of the growing family business.
I guess one has to reach a certain age, or level of maturity before one truly appreciates their parents. Looking back now, I realize how very lucky I was to have two such loving parents. They always made sure we had good healthy food and got lots of fresh air, exercise and sleep - something many children today do not experience. Mum made sure that if there was an activity we wanted to participate in, she somehow found the money to make it happen. My brothers did Cubs and Scouts, I did Brownies and Girl Guides. I was so very fortunate to have piano lessons and many other musical activities - various church and school choirs, high school musical productions and so on, and my love of music has never diminished. Thanks Mum. When I left home to attend University in another province, like most 18 year olds I couldn't wait to "get out of Dodge"... thinking I would never return to live in my boring little hometown. But it wasn't long before I realized what a great place it was and how lucky I was to have such loving caring parents.
Mum always stood up for me and made sure I had the same (or equal) opportunities as my older brothers. She taught me to stand on my own two feet and made sure I got a good education so I could support myself. She taught us to work hard, to be thoughtful of and helpful to others and treat everyone fairly. She taught us so much by example, much more than we were even aware of, as children.
I credit my Mother for my love of nature and gardening for she was certainly a nature lover and had a very "green" thumb. She was "green" before her time (lol) as she was always thrifty and never wasteful of anything, and recycling (or re-purposing) was just a natural part of her life. Certainly my love of all things fibre came from her as well, as I grew up watching her knit, sew, do many types of needlework and hooking - none of which interested me much then, but look at me now - following in her footsteps!! My love of travel also began when I traveled with Mum and Dad as a child. Looking back at my first solo trip at age 17 - by Greyhound bus to visit my Mum's only sister in West Virginia, I can hardly believe they let me do that all alone! I had to change buses in every large city down the eastern seaboard, and I made it, but not without some nervous hours at home for my Mum I'm sure, waiting by the phone... When I left for 3.5 months of backpacking around Europe the day after graduating from University, my Mother's sage advice was - "Use your common sense, and be careful. You have a tongue- all you have to do is use it. If you are in trouble - just ask for help." (Of course she was forgetting that I only spoke English and minimal French - no German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch.....) My love of reading also is the result of a mother who taught me to love books. She introduced me to the Library, but we both loved spending time in a bookstore, and she never once said no to the purchase of a worthwhile book.
There have been so many moments during my life when I can hear my Mother's wise words. She was indeed a wonderful person- a bit on the shy side, never one for crowds or big gatherings other than family ones. She was content to spend time by herself with her hobbies . She was always willing to help someone in need and supported many worthwhile causes in the community. She was good to her parents and all her siblings, and helped them all her life in whatever ways she could. She was kind and compassionate, and loved animals and all living things. She was a lifelong learner and always tried to better her skills. She was a great cook and would never turn anyone away from our table, always finding a way to "spin things out" to feed one more.
I miss my Mum every day. I still find myself thinking I'll just call Mum and ask her how to do... whatever. Or I wonder what she would say or advise about a certain predicament. I regret that my own children have few if any memories of her, other than after her stroke. They never knew the wonderful warm loving person she was. She would be so very proud of them both today...
I am lucky to have some great pictures of her in her younger years, and thought you might enjoy seeing them. At the top is a baby photo of her. The next one was taken while she was in (nursing) training, I'm guessing in the late 30's. The last two were taken just after my parents were married, I think (1942). She was getting ready for a big dance and I'm not sure who took this photo while she was doing her nails. The last shot is a closeup taken on the same night, and as you can see it has been tinted.
Yes indeed she was a wonderful lady. If I can be half the woman and Mother she was, I'll be happy.
I love you Mum, and miss you every day.


A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path. ~Agatha Christie

Meet Rosebud Angel

Yes I'm still busy stitching!! Here's my latest "finish" - she's known as Rosebud Angel. She's a Mill Hill Charmed Angel, and comes in kit form, similar to the Charmed Santa Faces I've shown you. Like the Santas she is stitched on 14 count perforated paper and all the supplies come in the kit- pattern, paper, floss, beads, needles, charm and ribbon. This series came out in 2000 so may be hard to find now in your LNS. I've had this kit for "a while" and finally got around to it this year. She measures 6"w x 2.5"h . and her kit number is MHCA 20, in case you might want to order her. I have checked and this series of 6 angels are still shown here on the Wichelt website so I'm assuming they can still be ordered. I collect angels so am happy to add this little sweetheart to my tree this year.
Isn't she cute? Next Monday I'll show you her "sister", Holly Angel, who's a redhead rather than a blonde.


An angel in the house they say, will guard your family night and day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Here is the other project I was working on during our Guild Workday last Saturday. I couldn't share it with you then, as I knew Laura would see it and it was a surprise for her. A little something to hang in her apartment for a bit of Christmas spirit...It is a long narrow wallhanging, or banner, if you like. (She has hung it on her door.) Nothing fancy- just quick and easy .. and cute!! Realized after it was in the mail that I forgot to sew the jingle bell on the tiptop of his hat....

Here is the little tip I mentioned in an earlier post re. the binding, when first attaching it to your quilt by machine. If you are doing a large piece, or anything that needs a long length of binding, you might try this: If you have an extension table for your machine, or if your sewing table has a "leg" or something at the front like you see here- roll the binding up around your hand, and place the "leg" or post in the center of the circle. The binding will unroll as you stitch along, and it will not get twisted, caught on something, fall to the floor, or any of the other scenarios that usually happen when you have a great long length of binding. Works like a charm. I cannot take credit for this idea- I read it somewhere..and can't remember where. So to whoever thought of this, a Big Thank You!!

We had a beautiful snowfall yesterday. It was so "picture perfect" when I went to bed last night after midnight- all was still and the trees were so pretty. I got out this morning before the wind came up and snapped a few quick photos in my backyard. Hope you enjoy them.


"Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again." ~ Bill Morgan Jr.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ollie is Quite the Helper...

One of the projects I was finishing up last week at our Guild workday was a pair of fuzzy cozy flannel sleep pants for my daughter. She always seems to be cold, so she loves anything that's flannel. I mailed them off to her on Monday and she received them yesterday, and is wearing them tonight. It's been a while since I have done any garment sewing, and when you have purchased a new pattern and the person is not here to try on, it involves a bit of guess-work. I was questioning the size and ended up using some of the Small and some of the Medium size markings. Laura says they are a perfect fit so I was lucky. I put a drawstring in the waist, so that solved the "how long do I cut this elastic?" problem.
Thought you might enjoy seeing what a HUGE help Ollie was to me when I was cutting out the pieces. He really loved the nice crinkly rattley tissue paper and he was convinced I was doing the entire job just to entertain him!!! He enjoyed trying to pull the entire length of fabric to the floor and when that didn't work he decided he should get right up where the action was. He did a great job of holding things in place till I got it all pinned down! lol Perhaps I should think about renting him out as an Apprentice for a Seamstress??
One bright idea I had while doing the waist and the drawstring was this: you know how hard it can be to thread a drawstring or elastic through a casing when you come to the seam allowances... if they have been pressed open, sometimes it is difficult to get by that spot. Instead of pressing them open, just in the waist area I pressed them to one side- all going in the same direction around the waist- lets' say clockwise. So when I threaded the drawstring through, there were no "fetch-ups" at the seams. Worked like a charm.
In another day or two I'll show you the quick Christmas Banner I made for her (now that she has received it) and share a hint to make applying the binding a little easier.


A dog is a dog , but a cat is a purrrrson.

And the Winners are......

I hope you all enjoyed my Giveaway- I certainly had fun! I not only got a good number of comments/entrants, but also a number of new Followers - a whole lot of new friends and new Blogs to check out. Yippeee! I hope you all will enjoy dropping in for a visit now and then, following my progress on new projects, and listening to my ramblings!

And now, without further ado: the WINNERS were drawn by my Hubby last night, and they are both Bloggers from Ontario!!

The first name drawn was Karen from For The Love of Needle and Thread. Congrats Karen!! You get first choice of the Santas. Let me know which one you would like.

The second name drawn was Dolores of True Blue Canadian. Dolores, once Karen has let me know which one she would like, you can choose from the remaining two Santas. Or, if you really really wanted the one Karen chose, I'll make another one for you. You might have to wait a week or two for it though... :)

I'll get these Santas in the mail within the next few days. This was so much fun, I think I'll do another Giveaway in February for my second Blogiversary!! Sound like a good idea?


"His eyes - how they twinkled, his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow...."
~ Clement Clarke Moore

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's a Whole New World.... (Post #300 Woohoo!)

When you go into a Quilt Shop these days, it's sometimes confusing and you might wonder if you are in a Bakery instead. There's Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Honey Buns (getting hungry yet?) and the newest - Candy Bars. No, I'm not talking about indulging your sweet tooth (although that's one of my favourite things to do, especially if chocolate is involved...hint hint wink wink). No, I'm talking about fabric "pre-cuts". You probably already know that a Jelly Roll is a pack of 2.5" strips and a Honey Bun is a pack of 1.5" strips. A Layer Cake is a pack of 10" squares and a Charm Pack has 5" squares. The newest "sweet" on the block is a Candy Bar which is a pack of 2.5" x 5" rectangles. And although we don't see them often here in my corner of the world, apparently there are also Dessert Rolls (5 strips that are 5" x 45") and Turnovers (80 6" triangles). Pre-cuts- a whole new world in quilting. Very clever marketing strategy!! All of these, of course are collections of co-ordinated fabrics.
I seem to be a bit behind the times in that I have not foraged far into this new world of "pre-cuts". I tend to like to choose my own fabrics, and Lord knows, I've chosen quite a few over the years- I could probably open up my own Fabric Shop (that is IF I wanted to part with them, which I don't. Yet.) I did buy my first Bali Pop this past summer- that's a pack of co-ordinated 2.5" strips of Bali fabrics from Hoffman. I love love love the colors and can't wait to use it. Just one small problem- I'm still waiting for the inspiration to hit. What to do with it? I'm still looking for a design I really like....
But I digress. This post was to talk about my latest quick project. I picked up a Charm pack recently - my first! How exciting! I chose North Woods Botanical (by Holly Taylor for Moda). I was in a new shop and I have to admit- I just couldn't help myself - I simply got carried away with the excitement, frenzy, call it whatever you want. (C'mon, admit it- You know EXACTLY what I mean!!) ANYWAY- when I got home, I thought now what am I going to do with this????
I rarely buy Modas. I rarely buy Christmas fabric. WHAT was I thinking? I do like the more subdued reds and greens and I did love the prints of pine sprigs, pine cones, holly leaves, etc.
Well, after some serious web and blog surfing I did come across something that fit my bill- quick, easy, not too large - the Disappearing Nine Patch. Yes! That's what I'll make - 4 large blocks will give me 16 blocks to make into a table center. Perfect.

So - here it is: I used 36 of the 42 squares in the Charm Pack and made 4 nine patches. Since Charm Packs are 5" squares, these are 14" (unfinished) nine patches. Here you see several- I chose 5 darks and 4 lights for each block- darks in center and corners.

As I laid this one out, I thought - can't do that- 2 greens on top, 2 reds on bottom...but then I realized it won't matter. You'll see why next...

After pressing the seams, cut each nine patch in half, vertically and horizontally, giving you four smaller blocks. So I will end up with 16 blocks.

Here is one possible layout.

Here is another.

I'm going to play around on my design wall to see what other layouts I can come up with. I'll share the finished design with you in a few days.....

This is a very simple quilt design - easy to construct, great for beginners. Great for scraps, also great for Charm Packs. It may also work for an I Spy quilt. Doing the Math is very simple- take the size of your original fabric squares, multiply by 3 (3 across in the 9 patch), divide by 2 (when you cut in half) and subtract 1 (for seam allowances). The resulting number will be the finished size of your block.
So if you are using a Charm Pack: 5" x 3 = 15/2 = 7.5 -1= 6.5"
If you had 6" squares: 6" x 3 = 18/2 = 9 -1 = 8"
If you use 7" squares: 7" x 3 = 21/2 = 10.5 -1 = 9.5"

I saw this Disappearing Ninepatch on Judy Laquidara's blog. If you're not familiar with Judy, she is very prolific and makes many beautiful scrap quilts. Definitely worth a frequent look!!

Don't forget today is the last day to enter my Giveaway. I'll be drawing the Winners tonight at 9 pm Atlantic Time, and announcing them tomorrow morning... See you then!! :)

And a very Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends/ followers/readers!!


Is a nine patch part of a twelve step program?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Meet Lapland Santa

Here he is - the third and final Arctic Circle Santa- this happy gent is from Lapland and is accompanied by his reindeer friend. He measures 3.75" w by 4.75" h. This kit series came out in 2009. In case you might want to order them or look for them at your LNS (local needlework shop), Greenland Santa is #MH20-9301, Lapland Santa is #MH20-9302 and Nunavut Santa is #MH20-9303. I love these little kits and there are always ample supplies - almost enough left to do a second one. All floss numbers and bead numbers are supplied so you could easily buy more to make additional pieces.
I'm now working on another little Mill Hill stitched and beaded piece- I'll show it to you next Monday. Here's a tiny peek at left- she's a cutie!!
My next post will be #300!! In celebration, I'm having a Giveaway- have you entered yet? The draw will be held on Thursday Nov. 25 at 9pm local time (Atlantic Standard Time). Don't wait till the last minute. Click here to see the details. Good Luck!
A fellow blogger, Marie over at SRE Deluxe, is also having a Giveaway for her 300th post. Check her out here and enter her draw too - it runs till Dec. 1st.


Christmas is a time of joy,
A time for love and cheer,
A time for making memories,
To last throughout the year.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Post #298.. getting close!

Only two more posts till I hit the 300 mark. Check out my Giveaway here if you don't already know about it. The more entries, the more fun it is. And a Big Welcome to all my new Followers! I hope you will enjoy following my ramblings! How do you like my new Visitors Widget? That spinning globe shows us where viewers are located...what fun to see those little dots pop up all over the world! I can hardly believe in just one week there are that many international viewers! Wow! I guess there are people out there listening !! :)
I've had another busy weekend. Yesterday our Guild held a workday- members could spend the day sewing on whatever projects they wanted; I worked on several things- neither of which I can show yet (shhh- it's a secret). One is finished and ready to mail off to Laura, (I'll share pics once it is received), the other is still a WIP. You can go here to see a few pics from our workday. I'm also still stitching every evening when I finally sit down to relax. Don't forget to come back tomorrow to see the third and final Arctic Santa. Once he is revealed, I'll show you a hint of what my next stitching project is...
This afternoon, when I had planned to be in my studio, I ended up taking a little trip upriver to Northampton to an Open House at The Jolly Farmer with my brother Leigh and SIL. Having never been before, I really didn't know what to expect- I thought it was just a large greenhouse or two. Wow- was I surprised! It is one huge operation with much more than just greenhouses. They also sell fresh produce (in season), meat, honey, frozen goodies like meat and fruit pies, quiche and frozen cookie dough logs, granola, cookies and fudge. They offer agricultural and turf products like soils, growing mixes and compost tea, hardwood products like cutting boards and knife blocks... suffice it to say I was amazed! Of course the greenhouses (which cover acres!!) are full of poinsettias and cyclamen this time of year. I could not resist snapping a few photos to share with you. It was just so wonderful to look at fresh blooms after all the dreary November weather we have had... Enjoy!! If you live in my area and have never been, it is well worth the 1 hour drive. Their next Open House is in May- and you KNOW I'll be there!!
See you tomorrow- Lapland Santa is waiting to meet you!


Happiness is a journey, not a destination

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Big Brother!

Today is my brother Wayne's birthday! I won't tell you how many "years young" he is, suffice it to say he's older than I (by "about" 10 years.. haha). I made him a batch of Nut Brittle this afternoon. Like me, he loves nuts so I thought he'd enjoy that. I thought I'd give you a little update on Wayne since many of you were so kind this past spring/summer to keep him in your thoughts and prayers. For those of you who don't know, he had a serious foot injury in May, when he crushed all the bones in his left foot. He was doing a move for the family business, picking up a Mobile Office Unit from LNG Port in Saint John. While he was lowering the trailer onto the hitch, something slipped and the weight of it all came down on his left foot. Luckily there was a "flat shoe" on the bottom of the hitch post or it would have gone right through his foot like a cookie cutter! Needless to say he was pinned there with his foot driven right into the ground (steel toed safety boots didn't help much), and if someone on the site had not been within shouting distance he would have bled to death right on the spot. To make a long story short: surgery, 10 pins in foot, wires replacing many ligaments and partial amputation of big toe; months of pain, extreme swelling, infection, meds reaction, many trips back to see surgeon in Saint John.... Happily, we're now "coming out the other side" of this whole thing. Pins are all out, cast is gone, walker is gone and he is "sort of" walking - with cane, crutches or sometimes nothing at all for support. However he cannot yet put full weight onto that foot - he is walking very cautiously. At his last visit with the Doc, he was told the bones are slowly healing but they are very thin. I guess with no walking or weight bearing for months, they have lost mass? So it will take a while to build that back up again. Methinks it will be a quiet winter for Mr. Wayne, with little to no snowmobiling, I'm thinkin'. And I suspect Mr. Arthritis will be moving in... He still has no feeling at all on the top of his foot (but does have feeling on the sole). His toes are rigid and he finds it hard to put on a boot. But he has made significant progress, for sure! We are so very grateful for his recovery and I do thank all of you who said prayers for him back in May and June - we sure appreciated it. It was nice to celebrate another birthday today. Happy Birthday Bro! Love ya!

Thought you might like my easy peasy recipe for Peanut Brittle (done in the microwave):

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup salted peanuts (I often used salted mixed nuts)
1 tsp. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda

In a 2 qt. glass measure, combine sugar and corn syrup, stir. Cook at high 4 minutes. Stir, add nuts, stir well. Cook at high an additional 3.5 minutes. add butter and vanilla, stir well. Cook at high 1.5 minutes. Add baking soda, stir gently until light and foamy. Immediately pour mixture onto buttered cookie sheet. Spread out as thinly as you can. Let cool, then break into pieces. Yield- about 1.5 pounds. Caution - mixture gets extremely HOT, be very careful not to burn yourself, and do not make this when young children are around... and DON'T lick the spoon!!! :)
Thanks to Joyce H. for this recipe (from our Guild Cookbook)

Don't forget to check out my Giveaway here. It is open till next Thursday Nov. 25


He ain't heavy, he's my BIG brother...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time for a Giveaway!

The more I "blog-surf" the more giveaways I see, so I think it's high time I did a giveaway. My "excuse" is I'll very shortly be making my 300th post! I think this is as good a reason as any, don't you? (*wink) I don't know where the time has gone, and I certainly can't believe that in less than 2 years in Blogland, I am at this point. And to think I was worried about "what will I ever talk about?" ha!
I must say though, in all this time, I haven't gathered many followers.. of course I haven't really worked hard at that either.... Nor do I get many comments; it seems to be the same few who comment all the time.. I like to hear from you, readers - no one wants to think they are talking to themselves..haha!
SO- here's how the giveaway is going to work: 1. You don't have to be a blogger to enter- it is open to all readers. But if you are not a blogger, you will have to include your email address with your comment so I can reach you if you are a lucky winner!
2. You must leave a comment on this post to say Hello. I will choose a winner next Thursday, Nov. 25 - one month before Christmas, by pulling a name "from the hat". And - if you're not a Blogger, I'd love you to tell me where you live!
3. If you are already a Follower of my Blog, or if you join as a new Follower, I will add your name two extra times.
4. If you have a blog and mention my giveaway there (you could even link to my post!) I'll add your name two more times. Of course, you'll have to tell me that you have done this...
And what might you win, you ask? You could win one of the stitched beaded Santa ornaments shown on this post - Saint Nick (top), San Nicolo (left) or Santa Claus (below) - your choice. If I get more than 100 comments, or I reach 50
followers, I'll draw two winners. If I get both - over 100 comments AND 50 followers, I'll draw three winners! I will add a little something else to the winnings as well, depending on if you are a quilter, crazy quilter, a stitcher or whatever your passion is....
So, dear readers - I'm waiting!! I want to hear from YOU!

Edit: Mon. Nov.22 - I just realized that some viewers may not know how to comment, or become a Follower. Anyone can leave a comment - all you do is click on the word "Comments" below- a white box will open up - type your comment in the box, then below it click on "Comment as". If you do not have a Blog or Google account, select Anonymous in the drop down menu. (just remember to add your name and email addy in your comment so I'll know who you are in case you are the lucky winner!!) Then simply hit the "Post Comment" button. Simple as that!
To become a Follower, you must have a Google account. Scroll way down my sidebar to find the box of Followers, then simply click on the word Follow and follow the prompts.


Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.
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