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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If It Feels Good...Do It!

If it feels good, do it! How long since you've heard that expression? Well I hafta tell ya- I've been doin' it today... and it feels good!! Yes I've been sewing!! (What did you think I was doin'?) It's been waaay too long since I sat at my beloved machine, and today I finally got "back in the saddle " as they say.. I've done a few mending jobs, got a set of "curtains" made for Laura's apartment, and am now working on a needle case/roll for her knitting needles. I found this fabric while at the Maine quilt show - look at those little sheepy faces- isn't it just THE perfect choice? I'll show you a pic shortly, once it's finished...
Laura has just finished knitting her first pair of socks. She has mastered the four needles - knitting in the round, or whatever you want to call it... She is proud of her accomplishment and I am proud of her too! I promised her once this pair was done, I'd buy her some nice multi-colored yarn for her next pair - you know the computer dyed stuff that makes a pattern as you knit with it... I'm not sure of it's "proper" name... She's also finishing off a sontag that she's been knitting at work (Kings Landing). She's done a beautiful job on it - some KL lady will be wearing it this fall to keep warm. Stay tuned for a pic of it too, as soon as it's done.
Man, can you believe this heat wave we're having!! It's been in the high 30's the last few days in Freddy Beach. God bless our heat pump is all I can say! When we switch it to the "Cool" function it cools our house down in minutes. Can you believe I had the oven on all afternoon to cook a Pork Loin Center Roast? It was yummy with it's maple syrup and Dijon mustard sauce. Tonight I'm doing up a batch of Ratatouille, and continuing work on the knitting needle roll. Laura is working on her basket for the Basket Social at the Kings Landing Agricultural Fair this weekend. I taught her how to make ribbon roses a few nights ago, so now she's going to town - it'll be the most bee-ootiful basket in the auction!!! Yep, we've kicked into high gear this week as we check things off the list...busy busy..
And by the way, I plan to be "doin' it" a whole lot more in the very near future... sewing, of course...


May your pathways be full of sunshine as you travel life's journey.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Late Summer Garden...

I don't need to look at a calendar these days to know that summer is drawing to a close. One look at my gardens and it's obvious. It's been an interesting gardening season.. last summer we were deluged with wet weather and overcast days. This year has been just the opposite, and I'm not complaining, don't get me wrong. We've had beautiful sunny days, and once we got past that humidity in July, it's been absolutely wonderful. However it's also been very dry and although I have spent many hours faithfully watering, it's just not the same as Mother Nature's rain. Some things have done very well but others have not flourished... Just thought you might like to take a peek at my late summer blooms.

The last lily to bloom, this one was spectacular this summer, with numerous blooms on four stalks. Most of my lilies were finished in early July this year, much earlier than normal. This one was much later.

Hubby planted some pole beans over by his garage- they climbed right up over the roof!

Some of my hanging pots are still looking fairly good. The hummers love the lantana in this pot, but I'm never quick enough to catch them with my camera.

The last Hollyhock bloom

The finches and chickadees love my feeder, especially when it's full.

Then they hop over for a drink from the ant moat above my hummingbird feeder.

The last Sweet Pea, in today's misty rain....

...the black-eyed susans were enjoying the rain too.Doesn't this look like Fall is not far off? These Chinese Lanterns have been turning color for a few weeks now...Peace,

"Flowers are without hope. Because hope is tomorrow and flowers have no tomorrow."
~ Antonio Porchia

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This and That...

Yes, I am still alive... I know, you've probably been wondering... Life is just very busy at our house these days; harvesting the garden and doing pickling and freezing, gardening and watering (mostly the latter), helping the kids get things ready for their upcoming moves, etc. etc. I did my pickled beets yesterday, and am not so patiently waiting for the tomatoes to hurry up and ripen (more than one or two at a time) so I can make salsa and ratatouille... Tomorrow's task is a big pot of turkey soup.
Just a brief update on my bro.... things are finally starting to look up for Wayne. It is 14 weeks tomorrow since his accident and he is now outfitted with an adjustable boot cast. After some problems with major swelling a week ago, and two trips to Saint John Regional in the last week, he finally has the Doc's permission to try a little walking, just in the house, with minimal pressure on his foot. The Doc said if all goes well, he should be walking by Christmas. So Wayne is feeling pretty good about that! He still has no feeling on the top of his foot, but there is feeling on the sole and some in his toes. So, we're thinking positive thoughts... :)
In my last post, I mentioned going to a quilt show in Houlton Maine. This is the annual show of the Friends and Needles Guild of Houlton. It was a nice little show, but smaller than previous years, I think. The downstairs was mostly filled with vendors, all from various parts of Maine, and the Silent Auction table, with most of the quilts on display upstairs. I didn't take many photos but have a few to share with you. I try not to post photos of other people's work unless I can give them credit, that is only right. So I have several photos which you will not see as I just cannot make out the info on the cards. Too bad, but it's not fair to display their work without giving them credit. Most shows these days actually ask you to not publish any show photos without giving credit to the makers. So, that being said, here are a few of the ones I particularly liked. Winter Wonderland by Sandra Henderson was a beautiful redwork piece which got my Viewer's Choice vote for "small quilt". (My friend Wendy in the Northstar Guild is working on this same pattern- are you inspired Wendy? Actually Wendy had a great idea to help out her sister, working on the same project- they teleconference on the phone while they work on the border star blocks. Way to go girls!!)

William Morris Friendship Star by Kim Hazlett was another favorite. Kim's work always stands out to me; she has great color sense, and her workmanship is top knotch. I always love her quilts.

Wonderful Watermelon by Diane Raush was a simple quilt, but very well done and what impressed us most was how well the overall machine quilting design suited the quilt- it looked just like wandering watermelon vines. Click on the photo for a closeup look to see what I mean.

Last is North Star Remembered, made and quilted by five sisters: Karen Gallop, Louann Ritchie, Jennifer Carr and twins Tricia McCarthy and Pamela Mailman. It was raffled off with proceeds going to the Houlton High School Alumni Association and, get this- it was won by their sister-in-law Gayle Cyr. It was beautifully hand quilted, and made with batiks in all the colors I love- blues, greens, pinks and purples. No wonder I liked it so much.

The special exhibit quilt by Laura Peterson was what I really went to see. The Quilt Show is 108" by 30"and full of amazing detail. We especially enjoyed naming the people, as many of them looked like gals we know! (No names mentioned!! wink wink) The hubby who was more interested in what time it was (looking at his watch) seemed very familiar as well - he's probably worrying about some game coming on the Sports channel... The detail on this piece was exceptional: the folds of the black drape on which the miniature quilts are displayed, the tiny real ribbons, the 3-D totebags full of purchases and the show catalogue, the painted fingernails and toenails.... incredible. You might want to go to the website here which Laura created to tell about the making of this quilt. Each of the 12 individual quilts are amazing in detail as well - you will want to read about each one on her website.
Our day trip was topped off with not one but two visits to a "new to us" Quilt Shop in Woodstock, The Christmas Crab Quiltery, located at 794 Main Street. What a lovely shop- spacious, bright, well laid out and a great inventory of fabrics, patterns and notions. We stopped on our way to Houlton, and stopped in again on our way back! What does that tell you? It's a shop worth visiting!! AND- big bonus- she's a Bernina dealer!! Woohoo!
Lastly I want to welcome several new Followers of my Blog: Maria Regina of Rio Grande do Sul Brazil, Fiona of New South Wales, Australia, and G.B. Where are you located G.B.? Glad to have you all along, hope you enjoy my ramblings... I will be back at my sewing machine very soon, with some projects to show you..

Come back tomorrow to see what's happening in the garden...


Quilters know how to hold 'em and how to fold 'em...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dog Days of August?

It seems that August is the busiest month for me... the days are whizzing by and I can't believe it's only a few more weeks and my kiddos will be gone back to University. The countdown has begun. It seems I'm spending alot of time in the kitchen these days; I have started getting some "meals" in the freezer for Mark- a batch of spaghetti sauce and vegetable beef soup are done. Still on the "to do" list- meatballs and turkey soup. I've also done batches of peach jam and pickles in the last week. My garden is yielding some yummy fresh veggies and we are trying to keep ahead of the peas, beans and lots of cukes. Tomatoes are just starting to ripen, I wish they'd hurry up. That first sun-ripened tomato always tastes sooo good... Ahh yes, the tastes of August- Peach Cobbler, Blueberry Pie, fresh corn on the cob....mmmm....
When not in the kitchen I have been consumed by Stieg Larsson's books - I have just finished The Girl Who Played With Fire and the third in the series, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest. All I can say is Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! If you have not read this Millennium trilogy, you must check it out! To call these books "absorbing" or "gripping" would be an understatement! I am an admitted night hawk, for sure, but I have been up reading the last week or two till well into the wee hours of morning... Talk about page-turners...
I have promised myself I will NOT start another book until I get a few small sewing projects finished up... my NYC wallhanging is calling me and I have several things to make for Laura's apartment..stay tuned...
I'm off to the quilt show in Houlton tomorrow. Can't wait to see The Quilt Show quilt by Laura Peterson of Bigfork Montana. You can read about it here. Maybe if you live in my area, you'll decide to venture to Houlton too! See you there?

Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer's year. It brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Fun at the Landing...

This is my daughter's fourth summer working at Kings Landing. Kings Landing Historical Settlement is a living history museum, representing 19th century life in the central Saint John River Valley. The time period covers the span of Loyalists to late Victorians, from 1780's - 1910. Laura truly loves it there - loves the site, loves the staff and loves doing the interpretation of 19th Century life for the visitors. This year however, rather than being in a household, she is a counsellor with the Education program. Kings Landing runs two fabulous summer programs for children ages 9-16. The first is called Visiting Cousins. The children spend 5 days, from Monday morning til Friday afternoon, "living in the 1800's." They dress in period costume (supplied for them), and play the role of a visiting relative to a family in the village, carrying out chores and learning skills as if they were actually a child of that time period. The girls learn to cook over an open hearth, sew, card wool and process flax, dye and spin, make candles, churn butter, make soap, and they learn a bit about herbal medicines and the Victorian language of flowers. The boys learn to do farm chores, make shingles, do militia drills and work with the sawyer, cooper, miller, blacksmith, carpenter and printer.
In the evenings, period appropriate games, songs and drama teach them much more about life in the 1800's, what it was like to be an immigrant to Canada at that time and the hardships of daily life. They attend the 1840's one room schoolhouse each day. Each child has the opportunity to rise early one morning to do chores at the farm - milking, collecting the eggs, and feeding the pigs. They eat good wholesome homecooked meals, and have no contact with anything "modern" including television, internet, cell phones or Ipods. They even sleep in 1800's nightgowns and nightshirts. On the final afternoon, they put on a short performance of dancing, skits and recitations learned in school for their parents, before giving them a tour and showing other things they have done during the week.
The second program called Family Kin is for children who have already been a Visiting Cousin. Instead of learning a wide variety of skills as above, they choose one to "specialize" in, usually their favorite trade or skill from when they were a Cousin, and they get a more in depth look at that area.
Laura attended Cousins and Kin for 4 summers in a row, and loved every minute of it. And now she is a Counsellor. Although it requires shift work, and the night shifts have turned out to be much more work than she anticipated (homesick children, sick children) she is loving it. Truly, I don't know who is having more fun, the children or the counsellors. Most of the counsellors have worked together on staff previously, so they are all well aquainted. There are lots of pranks going on, and of course the kids love to get in on it too if possible.... On a hot day, the male counsellors are always threatening to throw one of the female counsellors into the trough. The other day when I visited KL, Laura was planning to get two of the guys with a bucket of water (knowing full well she would likely get the worst of it). And she did... She pretty much missed Daniel, her target, (see photo, above left) and before you could say "God save the King", Graham grabbed the pail, filled it at the trough and soaked Laura (above). Because I didn't think I "caught the action" the first time, I told Graham to go ahead and get her again with a second pailful, so I could try to get a better shot. See what I do for the sake of this Blog and a good story?? haha No doubt it did feel good, being a hot day, but she told me her shoes were "squishy" for the rest of the day....
Ahhh, summer fun....
You can read other posts about Kings Landing by clicking here , here, here and here.


Kings Landing... history well told.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hummers at the Landing...

We have been blessed with a stretch of gorgeous weather- sunny skies, not too hot, little humidity - just perfect! Several days ago I decided it was a good day to journey to Kings Landing. This is the historical settlement about 20 minutes upriver from Fredericton and it's one of my favorite places to visit. As always I spent some time in the Ingraham garden- it is a typical English garden, divided into quadrants with a sundial in the middle where the paths intersect. A tall hedge stretches across the back, and behind that at the edge of the property flows the beautiful Saint John River. It's a quiet and peaceful spot to wile away a little time.
However, if you stop and listen, there are always bees buzzing, birds chirping and sometimes the whirring wings of hummingbirds. I was patient and before long, sure enough a very industrious female hummer zoomed into the view of my lens. (Did you know that a female ruby throated hummer has a greyish white throat, rounded tail feathers and white spots on the tips of the outer tail feathers? The male of course has the ruby throat and a forked tail.) I thought you might enjoy these photos of our encounter.... I have long been fascinated by nature's little helicopters and although these pics are not great, they are the best I have managed so far; the hummers in my own garden seem to be camera shy....
Come back tomorrow and I'll share a few more Kings Landing pics, in particular one of my DD Laura on the receiving end of a bucket of water...


Sun shines, birds sing, garden angels flowers bring...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quilting with George

The one class I took this year at Maine Quilts was with George Siciliano. If you are not familiar with him, you must check out his website here and view the Gallery. George is a former US Marine Drum and Bugle Corps member in Washington D.C. who now resides near Hershey Pennsylvania. He took up quilting in 1997 and shares his wife's sewing space. George decided to specialize in variations of the Log Cabin block because he saw endless design possibilities, and currently has over 150 different variations on his computer data base. Virginia (often referred to as "The Saint" for allowing George in her sewing studio) is a hand quilter and delights in teaching others this skill. They teach classes together and everyone enjoyed their humorous banter.

George was happy to share a number of his very small miniatures with us. This is one of his most recent, made for competition. It is called Dusk a l'Orange and the primary fabric is dupioni silk. It is about 12.5" square and has 4210 pieces!! Very impressive indeed!

Seven Twisters
is a modified hexagon twisted Log Cabin block - each block has 193 pieces, for a total of 1351 pieces in the entire quilt.

Crop Circles was one of my favorites- it is a Log Cabin Pineapple variation and measures 15.5" by 21" and has 2842 pieces!! George was asked to sell this one- the lady offered him $10.00 and wanted him to make 5 more for a set of 6 placemats!!! Hilarious!

A View From the Pew (below) reminds one of a stained glass window in church. It is 11.25 " square and contains 2196 pieces! It is a Log Cabin Court House Steps variation.
You can see some of George's other Miniatures in his Gallery on the website. The pattern we worked on in class is called Bird of Paradise. The block is of course a Log Cabin variation, and is triangular. It will be awhile before I get back to work on it, as I have other projects not so patiently waiting for my return.... But you will see it some day, I promise! I think I may change my color choices before I proceed any further on it... I thoroughly enjoyed George's class and find his patent pending Seam Allowance Guide/Ruler very helpful. It was included with our pattern and fabric kit for the class and I must admit I was skeptical at first. But it is a great little tool and I can see using it when making my Minis...

My travel buddy Karen Henry took a class with Vikki Pignatelli and she thoroughly enjoyed her class as well. They explored a number of fabric manipulation techniques.At right is Vikki's quilt from the Teacher's exhibit, titled Passages of the Spirit.


Every quilter has a masterpiece within.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh Happy Day!!

Great news today. Brother Wayne is just home from his appointment with his surgeon in Saint John and had all the pins removed from his foot this morning. The x-rays look great, and he now has a cast on his foot although it is not weight-bearing yet. He will go back in one week to have it removed and foot checked once again, and then we'll go from there...
Wayne has always enjoyed watching the birds and squirrels at his feeders. In the last few years he has befriended a little chipmunk who is now quite tame and will jump up on his lap to be fed. Last night I had dropped by at just the right time- feeding time! Here are a few good photos of Wayne with "Chippy". It is amazing just how many peanuts he can cram in his little cheeks before he has to scamper away to "put them into his winter storage". At one point we counted 24 peanuts!! I'm not sure I could hold that many in my mouth at one time!! (Okay - no comments out there!!) Just thought these pics might put a smile on your face today... Enjoy!


"Everybody needs places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength". ~ John Muir

Monday, August 9, 2010

More Eye Candy...

Are you tired of looking at quilts yet? No? Okay, I'll show you a few more of my favourites from Maine Quilts 2010. In another day or two, I'll tell you about my class with George Siciliano - what a fun day it was!

So here are some smaller quilts and wallhangings. Log Cabins have always been a favourite with me, and this one was a beauty! Logs of Patience by Cyndi Black of Litchfield was a five year labour of love. There were 320 blocks containing 5,120 logs, all made from scraps so tiny that most people would throw them out!! Yes indeed, a labour of love.. and patience. (I just found a mistake on this quilt- can anyone else see it? One block is turned the wrong way..)

I'm normally not that fond of black and white quilts but this one, Black and White Delight, by Pamela J. Whitaker of Winslow was lovely. I really liked her choice of the soft turquoise green. I think Pamela has been collecting black and white prints for quite a while- what a great variety she has used....

Tidepool Treasure
by Betsey Abbott from Andover MA was an exceptional piece, in my mind. She challenged herself to depict multiple perspectives including the rocky shore, the incoming tide, reflections on the water surface, and refraction and a sense of transparency below the waterline, all using opaque cloth. She used many techniques including machine applique, thread painting, trapunto, beading, and colored pencils. It was definitely a WOW piece!!

I loved the rich colour in Primavera by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham. She used applique and bias strips to create her version of a spring pond. It is an original design. (Sorry this is a bit crooked...)

Bali Bloom
by Rana O'Connor of Portland was done from a photo of a pink hibiscus bloom, sent by a friend from Bali. She used raw edge applique, thread painting and beadwork to create the realistic blossom.

The last quilt I have to show you tonight is from a group challenge. Four members of "Quiltaholics Anonymous" each made their own interpretation of a design by Jinny Beyer, called September Sun. I thought this one by Sue Rapalus was stunning. I loved her color choices.

The next "installment" from Maine Quilts will be about my class on Miniatures. But check back later tomorrow for some "just too cute" photos taken at my brother Wayne's....


"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
~ Scott Adams
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