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

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's National Cat Day!

I had another post planned for today, but when we found out that today is National Cat Day, well, you just know that Ollie kicked up a fuss. He demanded that I share some of his favourite portraits with you. So of course I gave in.. yes he has me tightly wrapped around his little finger paws. But he is such a handsome fellow, don't you think? Like most cats, he loves warmth and follows the sun around the house, stretching out in whatever sunshine "puddle" he can find... and of course you have seen pics of him soaking up any residual warmth on my ironing board when I'm sewing and pressing fabric/blocks...

When there is no direct sun, he is usually found on the back of the couch keeping an eye on what's happening in the backyard and at the feeders. This is where he's been most of today.. watching for signs of Hurricane Sandy. We have had some wind today, but I'm sure there is worse to come... However we will likely get off lucky compared to what New York and surrounding areas will be dealing with in the next few days. Please join Oliver and I in praying for the safety of all...
And, in honour of National Cat Day,  why not make a contribution to your local animal shelter? Since Ollie came to us via a shelter, he thinks that would be a purrrfect thing to do..


“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats...”  ~ Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Two more Finishes...

Two more books have been added to my "finished" pile... The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg was a quick and easy read. I had not read this author before, in fact I had not even heard of her, but I will be seeking out other books she has written. The story opens with middle aged Laura, a mother of two and a quilt designer, looking forward to her family's annual reunion in Minnesota. But it's not long before you realize something is amiss. Laura's sister Caroline accuses their mother of abusing her as a child. Always one to be dramatic and moody, Laura and Steve doubt her stories are true... But this is not the only long kept family secret that eventually surfaces and you wonder how this dysfunctional family will "right itself"... Can past wrongs be healed?  I loved the symbolism in the book between Laura's quiltmaking- creating something beautiful from scraps and leftovers - and family life. My favourite quote, spoken by Laura: "There is an art to mending. If you're careful, the repair can actually add to the beauty of the thing, because it is testimony of its worth." A good read for anyone who has struggled with family issues (and haven't we all?) and longed for love and forgiveness....

The Winter Palace, A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak carries us off to Russia in the 1700's. This work of historical fiction is rich in detail and suspense as we glimpse the royal world of intrigue, scandal, gossip and politics. The story is told by Varvara (Barbara), a young orphan taken in as a ward of the state to serve in the court of Empress Elizabeth (the younger daughter of Peter the Great and his second wife Catherine I). She is trained as a "tongue" to spy and inform the Empress what is going on in the palace. The novel is actually as much about Varvara's life as it is Catherine's, in fact it is more the story of Catherine's "rise to power" for it is very near the end of the novel before she actually ascends the throne. Stachniak's next novel, The Empire of Night, continues the story... I knew very little of Russian history and I found this story of one of history's key female figures fascinating. Her reign of over 30 years was the longest by any female in Russian history (1762-1796). If you enjoy historical fiction and you like mystery and intrigue, add this one to your list.


"Some succeed because they are destined to, but most succeed because they are determined to." ~ Henry Van Dyke

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Starkey Bridge

It's time to visit another New Brunswick covered bridge. This one is in Cody's (near Coles Island) and is called the Starkey Bridge (also known as Long Creek #1). It is 225 feet long and was built in 1939. It is in very good condition and is still in use today. I photographed this bridge last October when returning home from Moncton. It was late in the day and the skies were overcast and dreary so I was grateful for the pop of red color from some maple saplings.

I'm not sure what it is about these bridges that make me feel nostalgic for days gone by... I guess they seem like a piece of the past - steadfast and sturdy - still doing their job after many years - strong and dependable - they can be counted on. Like old friends...

Can you tell I was just as "taken" with the red maple leaves as I was the bridge? Yep, I'm a maple tree hugger.. just can't get enough of those  maples that give us such glorious red color in the fall...

As I was turning to go I looked behind me and spotted a loon. He wasn't long exiting the scene once I turned my attention and lens toward him. He was not going to give me the time to change to my telephoto.. guess he was camera shy...


The beauty of a single moment can last an eternity.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

All Hallows Eve Dinner...

I was fortunate to attend the first 2012 All Hallows Eve Dinner at Kings Landing last Friday night. What a blast! If you have never attended this event, and you are a fan of Hallowe'en and all things spooky, you had better put this at the top of your "Must Do" list. There are two more, this coming weekend - Friday and Saturday evenings. You must make a reservation in advance, and choose your main course. You can see more info and get the phone number or email to do that by clicking here . Don't wait- they may be very close to sold out by now. You can read the blog post about this "haunted event" that dear daughter Laura wrote for the Fredericton Tourism blog here. (If you scroll back you can also read one she wrote on the KL Thanksgiving weekend, and there will be one in the near future on their Christmas Dinners at the Kings Head Inn as well.)
This spooky evening is far more than just a good meal at the Kings Head Inn. It's more of a "dinner theatre" style evening. Dinner service begins around 7:30pm, but you will want to arrive
well before that. I'd suggest you arrive by 6:30 as you'll want to have time to "encounter" all the ghouls and ghosts as you walk down to the Inn. Try not to get blood on your clothing, and don't get trampled by the headless horseman who may gallop by. And watch in the trees for swinging bodies.... Mwuhahahaha.....  Head down to the Pub first for a cup of hot cider or something stronger if you prefer. Enjoy the minstrels' musical entertainment... join in the singing, if you dare...
There will be a special table reserved for you in one of the dining rooms and I guarantee the meal will not disappoint. You will not come away hungry! You will be treated to a number of short performances by members of the Kings Landing Dramatic Lyceum - musical numbers, readings and recitations, and gruesome stories of actual historical events... macabre, spine tingling, humorous and more! I don't want to give anything more away- you'll have to go to experience the fun for yourself!

" 'Tis the night - the night
Of the grave's delight,
And the warlocks are at their play;
Ye think that without
The wild winds shout,
But no, it is they - it is they."
~Arthur Cleveland Coxe

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"A Harvest of Quilts" Show

This weekend was the last Guild Quilt Show in our area for this fall. I enjoyed a beautiful drive upriver to Keswick Ridge on Friday. The morning fog was slowly lifting as I drove along. I have often wished I could have a camera embedded in my forehead and that I could trip the shutter by simply blinking my eyes. As I crossed the Mactaquac Dam, the mist was rising off the river and the yellow maples on the far shore were glowing in the sunshine. A long-legged heron was standing by

the shore, watching for fish.... oh how I wished that "forehead camera" could have taken that incredible shot. I could not stop as there were cars behind me, and I did not have my telephoto lens with me. I knew if I stopped once off the dam and walked back the heron would likely be long gone.. it was one of those magical moments you just have to remember and savour in your memory. It would have been such a beautiful shot - sigh.... kind of like the "fish that got away". The photo above was taken later in the morning- no river mist, but you can see how beautiful the views along the river were..

Okay, back to the Quilt Show.... Upon entering the foyer of the church, you immediately got the "fall flavour" of the show. The various pieces in the foyer were skillfully chosen to reflect their theme "A Harvest of Quilts". The first piece (at left) which caught my eye was "Autumn Market" by Heather Olmstead. I loved it for her choice of "soft" autumn colors.

Above it were several lovely 3D pieces by Jean Newell. She used "One Block Wonder" blocks to make the 3D cubes.

Nearby was this lovely hand quilted "Autumn Stack and Whack" by Donna Neilson. What an absolutely perfect fabric she chose - look how different each block turned out. I think this is one of the most successful Stack and Whack's I have ever seen.

On the other side of the foyer hung this lovely "Quick Trip Around the World" by Margie Grieve. The colors look just a bit washed out here, sorry. The border fabric was really quite beautiful.

 I love quilts displayed in a church sanctuary and this show did not disappoint. Every pew was covered in quilts, and each was displayed pretty much full width, so you really got a good look at each one. What a view! Isn't it wonderful?

There were a few antique quilts on display as well. This antique Pineapple quilt is 120-130 years old! It was in extremely good shape for its age... made by Mrs. Enoch Lunt.

Christa Gunn combined embroidery and piecing in this exceptional original piece at right - I cannot believe I didn't get its name. I guess I was too busy admiring it closeup!

 Elaine Stairs made "Pathway to the Stars" for her granddaughter Genna, who loves learning about stars and the planets. What a lucky girl to have such a beautiful quilt for her bed!

Log Cabin quilts have always been my favourites, and this variation was no exception. "Shoreline Log Cabin" by Gayle Day has 7600 pieces! It was made for the wedding of her son and daughter-in-law. What a very special gift!

"Furry Feline Friends" by Donna Neilson made me smile- well of course you know why! How could I not like a quilt that features cats!! 42 blocks.. each one different...

This is just a taste of "A Harvest of Quilts".  Of course there was more- Christmas quilts, baby quilts, two challenges, vendors, and refreshments! Who says coffee and cake doesn't make a good lunch.. lol
The Keswick Ridge Quilters are a relatively new Guild, but they sure know how to put on a great Quilt Show! Kudos girls!! Well done!


Quilts are like friends- a great source of comfort!

Friday, October 19, 2012

They're a Keeper!

The verdict is in! The Freezer Pickles recipe is a keeper! Back in August I posted a new recipe (untried by me - which I usually don't do) for such an easy pickle recipe I could not imagine how they would turn out. I decided yesterday they had been in the freezer long enough - it was time to try them. They are delicious! I wondered what the texture would be like... I think they are quite similar to a Bread and Butter pickle, both in taste and texture. Who would have thought pickles could be so easy? I will certainly make these again, in fact, I may throw out the 10 day or 14 day Crock Pickle recipe!! These are so much quicker and easier! You can see my post and the recipe by clicking here.


Wake up every morning with the thought that something wonderful is about to happen...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Still Blooming....

Today was a beautiful day - the sun shone and the temps were very agreeable. It was the perfect day to get some outdoor work done. Three of my five flower beds are now cut down. It's not a job I enjoy. It means cold weather is coming, and I dislike the thought of months indoors with no fresh garden flowers to brighten my day... Plus I still have some things in bloom and I cannot, simply will not, cut them down while they are still blossoming. That would feel like murder! Look at these cheerful faces - could YOU end their lives, and still sleep at night? (I have a hard enough time getting a good night's sleep without murder on my conscience!!) Of course I'm being silly, but I just can't chop something down when it's in full bloom. So I still have pink and purple asters standing, along with cosmos, Japanese anemones, Japanese toad lilies, cleome and sedum. I'm sure we will have a hard frost before much longer and they will be touched. But for now, I thought you might like to see a little fall colour of another colour - pink is the word of the day! At right and the first two below are Cosmos, the last two are Japanese Anemone. I'll save the glorious fall yellows, oranges and reds of the maples for another post.... (Yes, I admit it, I'm still clinging to summer)


"Then summer fades and passes and October comes. We'll smell smoke then, and feel an unexpected sharpness. a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a sense of sadness and departure." ~ Thomas Wolfe

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

On my bookshelf...

What have you been reading lately? It's been a while since I've "shared my bookshelf" with you... In late August and early September I read the Hunger Games trilogy. All three. One right after the other. Hard to put down.. Not my usual genre. I don't read much "fantasy". Not sure if that's what you would call the Hunger Games.. it's rather difficult to categorize. Although the premise is horrifying (children/young adults competing and fighting to the death), one is compelled to keep reading to find out what will happen next. There certainly is violence in the book(s), but it's also a story of strength, loyalty and perseverance. Engaging. Intense. Full of action and drama. Plot twists. Love story. All of the above... Well done, Suzanne Collins!
Next up was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. The author described this book as "a story about a boy and his dog for grownups". And that's exactly what it is: the story of a mute boy, Edgar, growing up in a family which raises a special breed of very intelligent dogs. A family tragedy is shrouded by mystery and the relationship between an uncommunicative boy and the highly
communicative dogs deepens. Edgar does what he must to cope with the difficult situation.. I don't want to give the story away.. you must read it for yourself! Oprah loved it, so did I! Beautiful prose, wonderful descriptions of emotion, great character development. Stephen King's review on the back jacket says it all: "I closed the book with that regret readers feel only after experiencing the best stories: It's over, you think, and I won't read another one this good for a long, long time... [This is] a novel about the human heart, and the mysteries that live there, understood but impossible to articulate." A beautifully written debut novel. Whether you are "a dog person" or not, I'm sure you will enjoy this book.
And then, because of all the hype,and the offer of a loan from a friend, I read the Fifty Shades trilogy. Again, not my usual genre... but it was hard to put down. You just have to keep reading to see what will happen next. Yes it is "naughty" in parts, and yes there is erotica. But it is also the story of a very complex relationship. The main character is definitely "damaged goods" and it was interesting to see how love of the right woman finally "brought him around", so to speak... Again I don't want to give away the story... Now I am reading The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg, and waiting is The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak. It is the story of Catherine the Great. Ahhh, I really need more hours in my day...


"Books are a uniquely portable magic." ~ Stephen King

Friday, October 12, 2012

Birds and Blooms...

It's really beginning to feel like fall these days. We've had some dark dreary days this week with little sunshine. The temps are slowly dropping and the nights are getting downright chilly. When I went for my walk last night after supper, it took quite a few minutes of brisk walking to get rid of the shivers. I have been slowly dismantling the vegetable garden, all that remains in the ground now are a few beets. I dug my gladiola bulbs this week, and will soon be cutting down all my perennial beds. It seems like just yesterday that the birds were enjoying my flowers. They especially seem to

like the Echinacea (purple coneflower) for both the blooms and now the seedheads. I can understand that.. it's one of my favourites too, especially for photography. Below are a few of my fav shots from this summer... most taken in my own backyard, and a few taken in the wonderful Ingraham garden at Kings Landing.

 And lastly, one of my favourite shots of all time of a little feathered friend in the garden....

I hope you have had the pleasure of many visits from our feathered friends this summer in your garden or backyard.


"To me, the garden is a doorway to other worlds; one of them, of course, is the world of birds. The garden is their dinner table, bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries." ~ Anne Raver

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The "Red Reveal"

Here it is. This is the block I've been working on. If you are a follower of Bonnie Hunter and Quiltville, you had probably already figured out that it is her "Talkin' Turkey" block. It was featured in the Summer 2012 issue of 100 Blocks (Volume 5), by Quiltmaker. As I've said before (apologies to JeanneKaye and Shelley D and anyone else who's passionate about red) I am not a red lover. Or should I say was not ... I'm really enjoying working with the reds ..perhaps I'll be a "convert". Or maybe this will "get it out of my system". Who knows? It doesn't really matter, I'm enjoying the process and that's what matters!

This is the completed block, it will finish at 12". As you can see it has changed it's looks now that the last "component" is added. The flying geese units, with light squares and rectangles to complete the sections, lightens it up and gives it the turkey tracks "look".
The blocks will be set together with sashing. At this point I am planning on a lap size (12 blocks), but who knows? It may grow.... Stay tuned...


Did you know...

Red is the highest arc of the rainbow.

Red is the first color you lose sight of at twilight.

Bees can't see the color red, but they can see all other bright colors. Red flowers are usually pollinated by birds, butterflies, bats, and wind, rather than bees.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Faces and Places

Tonight I have a few more images from a beautiful fall day at Kings Landing. Can you tell I love that place?! haha I have to admit, it does hold a special place in my heart...  Maybe the fact that part of the land it's built on belonged to my Dad's ancestors is why it feels like
"home" ... My father loved it there; he visited often and loved to chat with people, staff and visitors alike. I think he'd be very proud to see his daughter and grand-daughter "carrying on the tradition". Actually now we have his great-grand-daughter coming along too. This summer, Laura convinced my great-niece Mallory that she should volunteer at KL and she took to it like a duck to water. She travelled with Laura and worked in the
same house. Mallory loved it and can't wait to return next summer! So now we have another KL lover in the family. lol   Here are "my girls" above checking out George's "mail order bride".. And of course they had to check out the chickens at the Joslin farm.. "Are they as plump as our chickens at the Hagerman House?" In a future post, I'll share a few more pics of Mallory in costume. She and I had fun on Agricultural Fair weekend, in some of the competitions.
Kings Landing is so picturesque. There are photo ops everywhere you look. I hope you won't be bored by a few more pics.. faces and places.. on the final weekend. The site is now closed until next spring, except for the wonderful All Hallows Eve and Christmas dinners at the Kings Head Inn. There's a chance I may get to one of these dinners.. with luck... and if I do, you can be sure I'll be taking my camera along...
Laura finished off her visit with the annual  Turkey Shoot, firing a Brown Bess musket. Her forehead was black with gunpowder after the musket fired...  lol


There is nothing half as pleasant as coming home again.
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