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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloweeee'een

The night is dark and the goblins are out
and the witches and black cats are prowling about
and costumed creatures, the strangest I've seen
are knocking on doors 'cause tonight's Hallowe'en!

Well. it's been a pretty (cold) quiet night on our street, we haven't had many visitors. Not that we're complaining! Much better quiet than the days when we were nervous about hooligans causing damage in the neighbourhood... Once again the 5 year old twins from up the street win my Cutie Patootie award. They were Fairy Princesses this year, with magical wands which lit up! It's amazing how much difference a year makes with little ones. They have always been shy and not very talkative in the past- not so this year!! They were very chatty and giggley- a little sugar rush perhaps???

And where oh where do the years go? It doesn't seem long ago that my two little ones were excited about dressing up and going out trick or treating... look at my "little" girl now.. here she is with two of her roommates. I guess they still like to dress up... That's Mary on the left (she is the current reigning Miss New Brunswick) and Becky on the right with Miss Laura in the middle.
Hope you have had a safe and fun-filled Hallowe'en.


One last Hallowe'en joke...

Q. What is a skeleton's favourite musical instrument?
A. the trombone!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Early Sweet Treat

I am just home from a fabulous concert- my toes are still tappin' and my head is still ringing with the glorious music of the Barra MacNeils. They are presently touring the Maritimes with their new concert project "Cathedral". The Barra MacNeils are a family group of six siblings - Kyle, Lucy, Sheumas, Stewart, Ryan and Boyd, from Sydney Mines, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. They are best known for being deeply rooted in Celtic music and dance, culture and language. Cathedral is a little different from their usual performances because the pipe organ plays an important role in this show. The soaring splendour of the organ combines with more traditional instruments such as the fiddle, tin whistle, mandolin and harp. Imagine the usual jigs and reels combined with Bach and Vivaldi, Bobby McFerrin and Styx, then throw in some a cappella Gregorian chants in Latin and Gaelic... sounds like a strange mix, but it was an amazing treat!
These siblings are incredibly talented musicians, all classically trained and alumni of Mt. A. Imagine a show featuring piano, pipe organ, bass, cello, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, bouzouki, bodhran, both electric and acoustic guitar, flute, tin whistle, Celtic harp, accordian, Irish pipes and probably a few more which I have forgotten. Add to this the amazing vocal talent of this group and you have one fabulous show. They are joined also by twin sisters Meghan and Mikayla Luckie-Taylor; their teenage soprano voices add much to the show, including a wonderful rendition of Pie Jesu.
If you enjoy music at all, and this show comes to your area, you must go! You won't be disappointed. Click here for a little taste....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hallowe'en Fright

Here is my "just finished" little Hallowe'en door-hanger. It was a quick and easy cross-stitch that I saw on Jennifer's blog with a link to the pattern. So I'm passing it on to you- go here if you'd like the pattern. You could frame it, or finish it as a sachet to put in a bowl of treats, or pinecones, acorns, whatever.. I decided to make it into a little hanger for my kitchen door. I added a wired black and copper colored ribbon that's been in my stash forever, tacking it to the sides, and added a few bead "dingle-dangles". I also found in my "crafty stash" two Hallowe'en bells - a ghost and a pumpkin - which I hung from a metallic copper-colored ribbon. A quick and easy fun little dress up! Ollie might even enjoy batting at the bells!

Yesterday was a beautiful day with sunshine and warmer than usual temps.... I got a little more outdoor work completed. Today also feels almost "balmy" for end of October so I decided to take an outdoor shot of this "fall-ish"quilt to show you- so much prettier than over the back of the couch! As you can see my Burning Bush is at it's prime with bright red leaves.. wouldn't it be nice if they would stay through the winter- it would look so spectacular against the white snow! No such luck.. The quilt pattern was called Log Cabin Plus and came out of a magazine about 12 years ago. I used a variety of creams, beiges, tans and light golds for the lights and burgundies, greens and browns for the darks. I guess you would call it a "planned" scrap quilt. A checkerboard border is a great way to use up ends of strips... It is hand quilted and backed with a gold print and is one of my favourite scrap quilts.

Instead of finishing with a quote today- I'm going to give you a few Hallowe'en riddles - try them on your kids or grand-kids!!


Q: What did one ghost say to the other ghost?
A: "Do you believe in people?"
Q: Why do mummies have trouble keeping friends?
A: They're so wrapped up in themselves
Q: What kind of streets do zombies like the best?
A: Dead ends
Q: Why do vampires need mouthwash?
A: They have bat breath
Q: What Do You Get When You Cross a Snowman With a Vampire?
A: Frostbite.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Autumn Quilt Decor...

How do you decorate with quilts? Other than wallhangings, I must admit most of my little quilts "live" on a pile in my fabric closet, seldom to see the light of day.... But if they are "seasonal" or holiday-related, I do try to get them out and use them. This year I decided it was time for several of my miniatures to be used... so here they are. One of my all time favourites, this little Log Cabin which is 11" square, sits on my kitchen counter under "Punkin Puss". I love this Hallowe'en kitty which I found a few years ago on a sale table for a ridiculously low price - he just meowed to come home with me... what could I do?

Another miniature "Along the Wilderness Trail" is topped with this friendly Hallowe'en witch. I have to find a nice spicy-smelling candle for her to hold, otherwise she'll just end up with a tea light on Hallowe'en night.... (Both of these little quilts are square, they just look rectangular because of my camera angle.)

I love this table mat, made from a Sashiko square and bordered with a beautiful fall Asian print. It's the perfect size to sit on my kitchen table with a bowl of gourds and a bouquet of chinese lanterns from my garden. I must say the bouquet looked better a few weeks ago- they seem to have slumped as they dried... I never have professed to be a floral designer!! lol

Of course I have hung my recently completed Fall Quilt - you saw it here. Also hanging in my foyer is a fall themed hooked piece done by my Mother. She did beautiful needlework and hooking and I inherited the entire collection when she died. Lucky me! So I am trying to display some of them on a rotating basis. I am not crazy about the "basketwork" base she has mounted this piece on, but I love the hooking so it is on my wall...

As I am writing this post, I just remembered a fall lap quilt that I have not put out! Perhaps I will add a photo of it tomorrow as it is past prime photo-taking time now...

How do you decorate with your quilts? Leave me a comment with your ideas....


Autumn Leaves

Leaves in the autumn come tumbling down,
Scarlet and yellow, russet and brown,
Leaves in the garden are swept in a heap,
Trees are undressing, ready for sleep.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wee Witches!

Laura received a parcel in the mail today with a surprise.... a little Hallowe'en wallhanging I made for her last week- the one I couldn't show you last Tuesday. This photo is not the best- taken in a hurry.. It is not a work of art- just something quick and fun that I thought she might like to hang in her apartment for Hallowe'en. It was a very simple pattern, came out of a magazine from years back. I adapted it to foundation-piece, and used George's Foundation Stuff that I purchased from George Siciliano this past summer. (Loved using it as it stays in - no ripping off the foundation.) I backed it with a bright Hallowe'en stripe/print and used a starry print for the binding. Every once in a while it's fun to do something quick and simple just for fun! I hope Laura will enjoy her funky little witchies...
I'm working on a quick little Hallowe'en cross-stitch right now. Hope to have it ready to show in a few days...
You will notice something new on my Blog if you scroll down the sidebar- I have added Labels, so if you are trying to locate something, this may be helpful. Clicking on a label will bring up all posts with that label. For example, if you are looking for a recipe that I posted a while back, just click on "recipes" and all posts with recipes will come up on the screen.


One little, two little, three little witches
Fly over haystacks and fly over ditches
Fly over moonbeams without any hitches
Hey, it's Halloween night.
One little, two little, three little witches
Flew over barbed wire and tore their britches
Had to go home and get some stitches
Hey, it's Halloween night.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Down they go!

Today was a reasonably nice day, rain is forecast again for the next few days. So this afternoon I headed out with clippers in hand to do the deed... I hate this time of year when one must chop down the perennials and ready the beds for winter. It's the sure sign that winter is on it's way (ugh) and I just hate to admit it... I always feel sad cuttting down the plants which have given me such pleasure and beauty throughout the summer months. The only thing left blooming today was the fall asters; they were still being visited by bees... sorry little bumbleybees!
I got two more beds cut down and covered for the winter, so I only have one remaining bed to do. It's a job I don't enjoy but it does feel good to have it done. So thought I'd share one last bit of garden beauty with you... These are my tall fall asters, and one last solitary bee clinging to the blooms atop the stalks waving in the wind.


"Come," said the wind to the leaves one day. "Come o'er the meadows and we will play. Put on your dresses scarlet and gold, for summer is gone and the days grow cold."
~ Children's song of the 1880's.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back from a "Shop Hop".....

There's nothing like a little trip away "with the girls"... three of "my peeps" and I left yesterday morning bright and early to have a little get-away trip and visit a few "new to us" quilt shops....
We headed upriver and our first stop was The Christmas Crab Quiltery in Woodstock. I was the only one in the group who had been there before and we spent over an hour checking out all the wonderful fabrics, books, patterns, notions and kits. One of the "new to us" items we saw there was "green batting"- made from recycled plastic bottles. You can read more about Quilters' Dream Green batting here. Joanne carries a full range of sizes in this batting, from crib size to king.. Monica bought some to try out - I can't wait to hear how she likes it.
After a yummy lunch (I had a tasty Thai Chicken Soup to warm me up) we continued up the beautiful Saint John River valley to Grand Falls. This is Monica's hometown so she directed us to a delightful small but well stocked quilt shop there, The PinWheel Quilt Shop. Again we spent a good hour or more combing over everything in the shop and we all came out happy with our bags of purchases- fabrics, patterns, threads, even the shop's "mystery block of the month". What fun! Here are Susan and Monica posing outside.... I can't believe I didn't even get a group photo of the four of us. I guess the rain and wind and colder temps than we were prepared for had something to do with that...
We visited Plourde Machine A Coudre in the Mall where we picked up a sewing machine caddy on wheels for a friend and looked over their stock of Janome machines, before continuing on to Edmundston to spend the night in a lovely new Best Western Hotel. A bottle of wine, a lovely dinner (in Quebec!) and lots of stories and laughs.. it doesn't get any better....
This morning we crossed the border and checked out Mardens in Madawaska, then travelled down to Presque Isle for stops at Mardens, Lowes and the Aroostook Mall. All in all a fun road trip with great friends. Thanks Carole for doing all the driving!! We'll have to do it again, for sure!!


"A friend is a gift you give yourself." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm a Winner!

Yes, I'm a winner! Now I don't want that to sound conceited- I mean I have won a giveaway. I was the lucky winner in Marie Alton's birthday draw over at SRE Deluxe and my beautiful beaded snowflake arrived in yesterday's mail. It is on a stick pin, and I think it's going to look great on my black winter coat. Not that I'm anxious for cold weather and winter coats, but won't it look snazzy? The beads and crystals really sparkle in the light; the snowflake measures 2" across. Thanks so much Marie! You're the best!
It was a beautiful day here today- we reached 15F! I spent all afternoon working outside and got all my hosta beds cut down, weeded a good part of the vegetable garden plot to ready it for tilling, dumped out the last hanging pots and planters, etc. etc. I am tired tonight!! Think I'll sit down now with some cross-stitch and head to bed early... Good Night!


"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air". ~ Eric Sloane

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Seasonal Secret

I've been working hard these last few days on a fun little "seasonal" project. But it's a gift so I cannot show you any photos until the gift is received... so you're going to have to wait a few days.... It's all done now except the binding, which I will finish today so I can take it to Show and Tell at Guild tonight.
Ollie has been keeping me company in my studio while I have been sewing. He is such a great helper, keeping my fabrics warm, and in place lest they try to run away... His favourite spot is on my ironing board. I guess he likes to be up high so he can watch me sew!! Of course he takes the odd catnap too...
Don't peek Ollie... it's a secret!

For those of you who like draws and giveaways, check this out. Ginger at Bearbits is having a wonderful giveaway and it's open for entries until the end of October. I think her bears are delightful, but then, I'm an old softie when it comes to bears anyway... I'm sure my bears would love to have a new playmate... On second thought, maybe you should NOT go there after all... you'll be so disappointed when I win... lol

Thought I would share one of my favourite "fall" recipes with you today. I just made this a few days ago when friends came to lunch, and it's sooo good. Of course you can make it any time of year, but to me, Gingerbread is a "fall thing". This is without a doubt the best gingerbread recipe I have ever found. It originally came from a Mennonite cookbook by Edna Staebler, a well known cook in the Kitchener Waterloo area. This cake is so moist, and the orange juice gives it a lovely flavour.

The BEST Gingerbread.

1 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
grated zest of 1 orange
3 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. ginger

Sift dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl, set aside. In saucepan, melt margarine, add sugar, molasses and orange juice and zest. Stir, over low-medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, let cool slightly. Then add beaten eggs, stirring well. Pour liquids into dry ingredients, mixing well. Pour into 9x13 pan, which has been lined with waxed paper. Bake at 325 F for about 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and dry. Serve warm with whipped cream.


Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A pink bouquet for my peeps!!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Yes October is PINK month... I always associated October with orange, red and gold... Hmmm... Oh well... I picked this bouquet yesterday from my garden, and it is definitely the last bouquet for this year. Some fall bloomers- Japanese Anemone, Japanese Toad Lily (much prettier than it's name), pink fall asters, and the last snapdragon, sweet peas and dianthus. So I'm sending it out to all my female friends with a reminder to get your mammograms! Mine is coming up soon and much as I hate "the big squeeze", I am very thankful for today's technology.


Life begins when you do.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Awesome Autumn

Another busy week, but I have enjoyed getting out a bit to take in the gorgeous autumn colors. The reds seem to be vivid this year, brighter than last year, for sure. Odd how it varies from one year to another. I'm sure there's some scientific explanation - amount of rainfall, temps, etc. etc. I don't care- I just love the fall foliage in all it's glory. Much as I dislike orange the rest of the year, I can tolerate it this time of year, mixed in with the reds, yellows, golds and rusts. And the pumpkins... who doesn't love pumpkins?
Yesterday my buddy Sue and I took a quick trip down to River Gallery, one of our favorite Quilt Shops. Sue needed backing, border fabric and a few more fat quarters to finish up a lap quilt she's working on. So of course I volunteered to keep her company for the trip. It was such a beautiful drive, both on the highway to Saint John, and coming back up the old River Road.
We stopped in Gagetown for lunch and at several fruit stands to buy apples and pumpkins. We wanted this one but it wouldn't fit in the trunk... haha. Actually it was not for sale- this is the third largest pumpkin in Canada this year, having recently won that distinction with a weight of 1315 pounds!! It was grown near Woodstock NB.
We crossed the Gagetown ferry and traveled up along Washademoak Lake to visit my friend Wendy and check on the progress of their new home. All in all a beautiful drive. Tomorrow we are supposed to get a fair bit of rain and lots of wind so who knows what the leaves will be like after that? I'm so glad we did that drive this week. I had planned to drive to Amherst NS tomorrow for the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival but, based on the forecast, have decided to stay home. I'm going to lock myself in my studio and sew ALL day. At least that's my plan...


We live for the bounties of fall,
but the harvest of friendship is blessed above all

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving....

T'was the night of Thanksgiving
But I just couldn't sleep.
I tried counting backwards,
I tried counting sheep.

The leftovers beckoned-
The dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation
With all of my might.

Tossing and turning with anticipation,
The thought of a snack became infatuation.
So I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door
And gazed at the fridge full of goodies galore.
Gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
'Til all of a sudden, I rose off the ground.
I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky
With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie.
But, I managed to yell as I soared past the trees,
Happy Eating to all- pass the cranberries please!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers! It's a sunny but cool day here in Fredsville and as I write this the delicious smell of roasting turkey is tantilizing us... Mmmmm, can't wait for turkey dinner, just a few more hours... turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, spiced crabapple jelly, squash, carrots and broccoli, rolls, salad, and warm apple pie and cheddar to top it off.. groan....
On such a perfect day (10-10-10) one can't help but be grateful for the fortunate lives we lead. I am so very thankful for my health, my wonderful family and friends,and the wonderful place in which I live. I am so lucky to live in Fredericton - such a beautiful small city in the Maritimes - I wouldn't trade it for anywhere. Yessiree, I am a proud Maritimer and certainly a proud Canadian.

So, in case you're wondering about today- here's the Thanksgiving Day forecast....

Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 390F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder.

During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates..
Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy.

A weight watch and indigestion warning has been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway.

During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34F in the refrigerator.

Looking ahead to Monday and Tuesday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By later next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone.



God is Good...

Thank God for dirty dishes
They have a tale to tell
While others may go hungry,
We're eating very well.

With home, health and happiness,
I shouldn't want to fuss-
By the stack of evidence,
God's very good to us.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tablerunner complete

Here it is, all finished and ready to give to my buddy Wendy. I just need a name for it- any suggestions? The pattern in the magazine was called "Treetopper" but that just reminds me too much of an angel on the Christmas tree.... I like the back almost as much as the front. How lucky was I to find this perfect fabric for the backing?!


"The only gift is a portion of thyself". ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Autumn Splendour in Sussex

Last weekend was the Sussex Vale Guilds' bi-annual show so it's high time I got around to sharing a few Show photos with you. For a small venue, those Sussex gals really know how to "pack it in". They did a marvelous job of displaying a good number of quilts in a small space. As well there was a Merchant Mall with 4 vendors, tables of small quilted and knitted articles for sale (many with very reasonable pricing - I got the sweetest little girls' knit hat for $4.00!!!) and an area for refreshment if you needed an energy boost. Tea and homemade cookies were a great pick-me-up when your feet were tired of walkin' and your eyes were tired from lookin'. (The Meringues and Lemon BonBons were exquisite... thanks for the recipe Vera!)
But I digress.. you want to see the quilts don't you? There were many beautiful quilts both large and small. Some of my favorites were by Gail Fearon, like this first one (above) called Stars My Way (84" x 96"). It is hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand quilted- way to go Gail!! I think Gail is like me, she likes rich saturated color. This is truly a beauty. Another beauty, also by Gail Fearon was Sylvia's Stars (left) which also featured gorgeous hand-quilting. All the stars were from batiks- ahhh, you gotta love that! You just can't go wrong with batiks. (Sylvia's Stars won Viewers' Choice, third place. Yeah Gail!!)

Whole Cloth Anniversary Quilt by Cynthia Vail was hand appliqued and hand quilted by Cynthia for her parents 60th wedding anniversary. It is queen sized; what a very special gift. Sadly both parents passed away within months of each other, shortly after receiving the quilt.

Daisies for Amanda by Joan West was another quilt which was getting lots of interest from viewers. Of course, being a lover of blue, how could I not like this one??

There were many lovely small quilts too, such as Esther the Easter Chicken again by Gail Fearon. I love quilts with humour and I just loved the expression on Esther's little face... She's obviously a good laying chick- look at all those eggs!! However I think the look on her face tells us she is feeling fatigued and needs a break from "producing"!! lol

Pineapple Picnic (below) by V. Leigh Smith really caught my eye. I've always been attracted to Log Cabins and Pineapples, loved the colors in this one.

That's just a small taste of the lovely quilts at the Autumn Splendour show. All in all, we had a good day- thanks Sandi for coming along! Hope you've enjoyed this little peek. If I've left you wanting more, pop on over to Gail M's blog to see more here and here.
Sorry this has taken so long. We got a new hard drive and operating system last week. And Yes there IS a large learning curve!! It's taken a while to figure out how to load my pictures off camera onto computer, figure out where they went(!!) how to file them, save them, etc. But I think I've got it now! So I should be good to go.. Tomorrow- a final pic of my green tablerunner, which is all finished.


Friends are like bras- close to the heart and always there for support.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Back from "vacation"...?

OK, I guess you could say I've been taking a week's vacation from blogging... It's been a combination of just "very busy" and "writer's block". Sometimes I just don't have much to say - hard to believe, I know... In this last week I've been busy with meetings, choir practices, errands and appointments, a day trip, cleaning up the vegetable garden and a hundred other things it seems. I have managed to finish another excellent book: World Without End by Ken Follett. It was sooo good; I was totally wrapped up in life in the 1300's. Another book that I just did NOT want to end...
I've also finished machine quilting the tablerunner. I'm half done hand-stitching the binding, it will be finished tomorrow so check back for a final pic.
Fall has arrived in all it's glory. Although I hate to see the coming of colder weather, I love the autumn foliage. Thought you might enjoy a few shots of fall colour...
In my next post I'll share some photos from the Sussex Quilt Show "Autumn Splendour" last weekend. My friend Sandi Mac and I did a quick jaunt to Sussex last Friday to attend the show and we were not disappointed.


"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order." ~ John Burroughs
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