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

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey

Here it is. Finally. These photos were taken late yesterday afternoon, in bright sunlight as the ones on the shaded side of the house were too dull. They're not 100% but will do for now as I was anxious to share this with you. I'll try some more on a bright but somewhat overcast day and see if I can get better color. (Why is red so darn hard to photograph??? Grrr) These photos just don't show the richness of the reds... And of course the breeze comes up just as you get set up, so it blows the bottom of the quilt, and there are a few shadows... but you get the idea, right?! It IS "straight and square", measuring 71" by 84".

So this is my "Talkin' Turkey" quilt, designed by Bonnie Hunter, so named as it is a variation of the traditional Turkey Tracks block. Bonnie (and I) like designs with a lot of piecing. And believe me, there IS a lot of piecing in this quilt and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. At first, my intention was to do just 12 blocks (for a lap size quilt). When I got the 12 done, I was having so much fun I just didn't want to stop so went to 20 blocks for five rows of four blocks. Now I almost wish I had gone "all the way" and done 30 blocks (six rows of five). Oh well.. next time...  ha! I still have lots of red fabrics... perhaps more than what I started with? (I swear it breeds overnight.) There may very well be another "reds and lights" quilt in my future...

Bonnie first published this block in the Vol 5 issue of Quiltmakers 100 Blocks (Summer 2012). It was Block #471. When flipping through the magazine, this was the one that really caught my eye. Still not sure why, maybe because it looks like a traditional block but with a "new twist" with the string pieced triangles. So I started cutting.. and cutting.. (and more cutting.) The block is actually quite simple- made up of several basic units- a nine patch in the centre, 4 string-pieced triangles and then flying geese units plus 4 squares and 4 rectangles. Can you believe I had never done any string piecing before? It is so simple and SO much fun. You basically are just covering a (paper) base with random width strips ("strings") until the base is covered, then you remove the paper after squaring up to size. (Bonnie suggested using old phone book pages - they work great because they tear off so easily.) What a great way to use up leftover ends of strips, or other scraps, particularly small pieces.
I really enjoyed this method and am using it again now for another Bonnie Hunter quilt... blue this time.. no surprise.. After all, once I got going on these Turkey Tracks blocks, I had to buy Bonnie's book for the directions to finish the quilt, and once you buy the book, you have to make more than one quilt from it, to make it worthwhile, right?
String Fling - Scrappy, Happy and Loving It! contains instructions for 12 other scrappy quilts besides Talkin' Turkey. All use string-pieced units somewhere in their design. If you really enjoy lots of piecing, I would certainly recommend you try some of Bonnie's quilt designs, from String Fling or from her blog here. There are a number of free patterns available at the top of her blog page. Just click on "Free Patterns". If you are a regular reader of Bonnie's blog, you'll know that she does several Mystery Quilts per year as well (a new one coming up shortly) - these are great fun and very popular (and feature lots of piecing- consider yourself warned!). If you don't "know" Bonnie yet, check her out!
Back to my quilt. I think this is my "most successful" scrap quilt so far, as I managed to incorporate a good variety of fabrics - small, medium and large format prints as well as stripes, plaids, dots, paisleys, novelty prints, swirls, geometrics, batiks, hand dyeds, tone on tones... you name it, it's in there. I think I've used every possible shade of red too so that gives it a bit more "life". When it was time to add borders, I wasn't sure I wanted to do Bonnie's pieced flying geese border (lots more piecing!), but I am so happy now I chose to do it rather than just the piano key border I was considering. (Am I the only one who agonizes over these decisions?)
 It was quilted by Mona Gagnon of Grand Falls, with a pattern called Feather Meandering. I really was not sure how I wanted it quilted so I took it to Mona as she does awesome custom quilting, but we agreed (as I expected) that the pattern was just too "busy" for a custom job- it really would not show up. We ended up choosing an allover design, and I am very happy with our choice.  I was pleased to find the perfect red polka dot print for the binding at one of my local quilt shops, Country Crafts and Curtains. My backing is a cream tone on tone double wide cotton from one of my fav not-quite-so-local shops, The Covered Bridge Quiltery in Riverview.
So there you have it. Done. And done is good!
It's a beautiful sunny day. Time for me to get outside.


"Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory." ~ Mahatma Ghandi

Friday, September 27, 2013

Freak of Nature?

Today was carrot digging day. It was a lovely sunny warm day (finally!) so I knew I had to spend some time in my veggie garden getting things cleaned up. That means carrots dug, gladiola bulbs dug out and put to dry, and lots of tidying (aka weed pulling and removal of old stalks). I always know there will be a few "surprises" with the carrots. There are always the carrot best friends (side by side and tight!), the carrot lovers (entwined around each other), occasionally carrot conjoined twins (two grown together). But today I dug out a "first". I'm not sure whether to call this Hermaphrodite carrot, or Gender Confused carrot.... Have a look. Shall we have a carrot naming contest? 
One side

And the other side. Yes - same carrot..

Just thought you'd like a little chuckle.. straight from my carrot patch!


"To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds, and watch the renewal of life--this is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do." ~ Charles Dudley Warner

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nothin' Like a Fresh Baked Cookie...

Well it's been another dreary overcast day.. still waiting for that sun to reappear! Come on sunshine!! So what's a girl to do on a dreary day but bake! It's been a while since I've made cookies. With just the two of us at home now, I don't bake as often because we really don't need it... But today I had a reason for fresh baked cookies.
My brother-in-law had open heart surgery last Friday in Saint John, to replace a heart valve. The surgery went well, although his recovery is going to be "slow and steady" for a while... He was told "no more than an hour of driving before stopping for a rest", so we expected them to stop here this afternoon for a break before the last hour's drive home. I figured fresh home-baked cookies with a cup of tea or coffee, or glass of cold milk might taste good after a week of hospital food. So I turned to an old "stand by" recipe that everyone seems to like. We call them Spice Sparkles although you might know them by a different name... Soft, chewy and spicy...mmmmmm.....

Spice Sparkles

1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup shortning
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
white sugar to roll dough balls in

Cream sugar and shortning together well. Add egg and molasses and mix well. Sift together flour, soda, spices and salt. Add and mix until all is blended in. Form dough into balls, about 1", and roll  in white sugar.  Place on baking sheet, leaving enough room for cookies to spread a bit. Bake at 350F for about 7 minutes. Cookies should still appear soft when removed from oven. Let cool slightly on baking sheet, then remove to cooling racks. Do not overcook or cookies will be crisp rather than soft.


Keep calm and eat a cookie.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall is here...Drat!

Fall has officially arrived, and much as I love the seasons, I am sad to bid goodbye to summer. I do love fall, but I do not want to think of the coming cold weather. We didn't have enough summer this year, and I'm still waiting for the warm dry autumn that was forecast.. wonder when it's going to start?
There are still some things blooming in the garden although the color is waning. Most plants are pretty well done and will soon be cut down to allow me to put the beds to sleep for the winter. I didn't get a lot of Morning Glory blooms, but look at that beautiful blue color- isn't it lovely? This is from seeds sent to me by my blogging friend Marie at SREDeluxe. Thanks Marie!
The rudbeckia is still going strong although many blossoms are now showing signs of nibbling, likely the earwigs... Two fall bloomers, Japanese Toad Lily and Japanese Anemone are just coming into bloom now, soon to be followed by the fall asters. So it's "not quite over" yet! I'm hoping tomorrow will be a sunny day so I can get out for some more photography.. the last few days have been wet and dismal.
I can hardly believe I have just passed 750 posts on this blog, and enough on my Guild blog to bring the total up to 900!! Wow! Where does the time go? I didn't think I had that much to say!! haha. (okay, no  comments please! lol) When I started blogging, I never thought I'd still be at it 900 posts later!!

As soon as we get a day without rain, I'll be taking more photos in the garden and of my red quilt, Talkin' Turkey. It's quilted, bound, been in the Show, and ready to be shown!


"The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many... September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Sunday, September 22, 2013

KV Quilt Show Part 2

Here are a few more photos from the awesome KV Quilt Show and Sale 2013. First, we'll finish off the ribbon winners that I have photos of (I admit, I missed a few - sorry!) Brenda Dunsmore swept the Modern category (note to self- give her some competition next year... haha). Seriously, well done Brenda! Her Plovers on the Beach got the first place ribbon, using threads, textured yarns and the addition of small seashells to represent the debris on the beach, and cheesecloth for waves- very effective!

Log Cabin Indian Corn took second place. I loved her interesting use of the log cabin design to create the corn - very clever.

Sorry, I missed getting a photo of the third place piece...

The raffle quilt was called Butterfly Log Cabin. I loved the colors in this - so rich and vibrant. I must admit, there have been a few raffle quilts over the years that I didn't really care for that much, but THIS one was a beauty! (I don't mean at KV Shows, I mean all raffle quilts in general). Yes I would have loved to bring this baby home to put on my own little bed... Of course, I'm always a sucker for batiks, especially in these colors.. MY Colors.. yes this should have been mine... sigh... Guess I'm not the only one who liked it, as it won a Judge's Choice ribbon!

Daisy's Crazy Quilt by Judy LeClue was another Judge's Choice winner. The colors in it were so vibrant, the silks luxurious, the stitching pure perfection.. lots of beautiful machine "fancy stitching"! Judy is another lady who does exceptional work. I'm sure she has a large ribbon collection...

Seaside Cabin by Mary Hawkins also was a Judge's Choice winner. I loved her choice of a light fabric that had little crabs all over it.. SO cute. Mary (who lives on Grand Manan) had taught a "Log Cabin Crazies" class for the guild - this is a log cabin block in which the strips are angled and irregular, and after the class, was inspired to make this piece to reflect her home on Grand Manan Island.

One of the things I always enjoy at a Guild Show is seeing the Challenges the guild has done. KVQG never fails to impress with their member's challenges. They are usually tied to the theme - this time they had to choose a season and do a piece related to that season and their interpretation of "log cabin".

They were all so interesting; I wish I could have taken pics of each individual entry but my camera battery was running low....

Challenge winners were chosen by a "members only" vote at the September Guild meeting: Fall- Fall Night by Brenda Dunsmore, Winter: Winter by Elizabeth Higgins. Spring: Twist of Spring in the Garden by Juliet Nowlan, and Summer: Lepidoptera Crooked Wingus by Judy LeClue.

To finish off, here are a few other quilts that I really liked. Bali Double Wedding Ring Star by Wanda Finniemore was one of my favourites of the entire show. It was two years in the making, as a wedding gift for her daughter and son-in-law.

The colours in it were gorgeous and the quilting, by Penny Bubar of Beaverdam Quiltery, was exceptional. What a lucky young couple to receive such a gift of love! I'm sure they will treasure it!

Log Cabin has always been my favourite quilt design, and I love seeing different "sets" of the blocks. This one by Joan Blakney was called There's a Bird in my Log Cabin. I love the bird she added for a touch of whimsy.

The design for Snowflake Tree by Valerie Hopper came from an Australian magazine. Now, I'm wondering how many snowflakes those Aussies have seen? lol
Isn't this a sweet little wallhanging? Love it!

Lastly, if you are familiar with Bonnie Hunter of, you will likely recognize this one as one of Bonnie's very popular mystery quilts, Easy Street. The maker, Rosa Robichaud has called her version, LA Easy Street. Lots of piecing in this!!! This was a king sized quilt, and for sale for $500.00! Way too little for the amount of work, in my opinion... I sure don't like to see quilters undervalue their work.

So there you have it. Another amazing show!  How great for the viewing public to have the chance to see so many examples of beauty, talent and skill. Who knows? Maybe a few more people will have been bitten by the quilting bug, and will decide to give it a try!

EDIT: You can view ALL the prizewinners on the KVQG blog by clicking here.


"Faith that the thing can be done is essential to any great achievement." ~ Thomas N. Carruthers

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Copperhead The Movie is here!

We interrupt the regular scheduled programming (and continuation of coverage of the KV Quilt Show) to bring you this very important announcement. Copperhead, The Movie is now playing in Fredericton at Empire Theatres. The success of this movie, as far as how many more venues in Canada it plays at, largely hinges on the response this weekend. So if you live locally PLEASE get out this weekend and see this wonderful movie. It was shot last spring at our own beautiful Kings Landing Historical Settlement. The setting is absolutely perfect. I was very lucky to see Copperhead when it premiered here in May (to a selected/closed audience) so I can honestly tell you it is SO worth seeing. I went, with expectations of solely watching the set and paying attention to the local "actors" (extras) in the movie. Within 5-10 minutes I was so engrossed in the story that I forgot all about watching for the faces I knew.. It is a wonderful story, and although it's a Civil War story, there are no bloody battle scenes. It's more of how the war effects those "at home". Families and communities are divided over their feelings about the war. You can watch the trailer here and also  read more about the movie, the cast, the score, etc. Billy Campbell and Peter Fonda are the two big names you will recognize but there are many other excellent actors in it as well, including a number of local faces you might recognize (Walter Learning, Robbie O'Neill, Verna Hayward...). Certainly if you are a regular visitor to Kings Landing,  you will recognize Don Rigley, Tom Richards, Laurie Marr and many more "staff" faces...
It is also now playing in Moncton at Empire Theatres (Trinity Drive) and at Bayers Lake in Halifax.  So please- if it's playing near you, get out and see it. Right now, it's only scheduled for Fredericton until Thursday, Sept. 26 so don't wait!! See it today. Help it become the success it deserves. I urge you to go, I know you'll enjoy it.


"I highly recommend seeing the film." ~ Charles Cummings, American Civil War Today

"I highly recommend seeing the film" -- Charles Cummings, American Civil War Today - See more at:
"I highly recommend seeing the film" -- Charles Cummings, American Civil War Today - See more at:
"I highly recommend seeing the film" -- Charles Cummings, American Civil War Today - See more at:
"Copperhead may well be one of the best new scores of this year, and is an excellent display of the young composer's abilities." ~  Chris Hadley, Film Score Monthly

KV Quilt Show - Log Cabin Revisited

The annual Kennebecasis Valley Guild's September quilt show is a fixture in this province, with a reputation of being a high quality show. These gals deserve a lot of credit for being so dedicated- a show every year is a big undertaking! And this is no small show! Each and every year they have a wonderful display of many quilts large and small, some of which are for sale, a display of Challenges, samples from guild classes/workshops, a beautiful raffle quilt, a Quilter's Walk (fundraiser), small items for sale (everything from placemats, Christmas items and small wallhangings to home knit socks and jewellry) and a vendor's market. What more could a girl want?
Here are some photos from this year's show which has a Log Cabin theme. First of all, some winners.

Best in Show (Lorna Peacock Memorial Award) and the Canadian Quilter's Association Rosette went to Sue McEachern for Darling Dresdens. Sue does beautiful work and exceptional hand quilting, and it's no surprise that she is a frequent ribbon winner. I was so pleased to see her win Best in Show....

The Best Machine Quilting ribbon comes to Fredericton  - Yay!! Superstitious - Not Me by Sheila Cameron was machine quilted by my friend and fellow FQG member Sandi MacMillan who is presently out of the country. She was thrilled to hear that Sheila's quilt had won.

I'll apologize right now for the photos- it is often impossible to get a good shot of a quilt, straight on and without someone's arm or leg or left ear in the photo. I assure you all these quilts were straight and square, even if my photos make them look otherwise. At this show, it is often very difficult to get far enough back to even get the entire quilt in your frame...

Best Hand Appliqué, won by Dodie Brooke, for Blue Hawaii. She used a complete  250 yd. spool of thread to quilt the background.

Best Pieced quilt was Leah's Quilt by Clara Young. Look at all those stars! Wow!

Diamond Star Log Cabin by Cherry Tocantins won for the best interpretation of the Log Cabin theme. It was an absolutely beautiful quilt- this photo does not really do it justice. This quilt also won Viewer's Choice! Well deserved!

Gail Fearon, who blogs at Love to Quilt, won both 1st and 2nd place ribbons in the Large Traditional category. Way to go Gail!! Like Sue McEachern, she is another exceptional hand quilter and gifted appliqué-er (is that even a word?) It was not surprising to me to see ribbons on her quilts.

In first place was Baltimore Bouquet, and second place went to Starburst. I had seen both these quilts before but it sure was nice to be able to have a second look! Visit Gail's blog here for her photos of the show.

Third place in Large Traditional went to Butterfly Garden by Eileen Warren, another FQG member! Yay! Eileen's quilting stitches are so very even - beautiful. Congrats Eileen!

Rainbow Log Cabin by Jill Lloyd won 1st place in the Small Traditional category. The bright colors used in the spinning "stars" were very eye-catching, as was her wonderful machine quilting. What a lot of time went into all those little "pebbles"...

Smokey by Diane Haggerty won 2nd in this Small Traditional category. A lovely rendition of her grey cat Smokey, she made this as a gift for her husband.

And third place went to... me!! I was very surprised (and excited) to learn that I had won a ribbon. I was in fine company (and stiff competition) so I feel very honored to have a ribbon from this fine show. I never expected a ribbon on Pumpkin Play. I also entered my red Talkin' Turkey, and if there was any chance at all for a ribbon, I thought it might be on that quilt!  I guess my first efforts at hand appliqué and the use of that dreadful  color orange weren't so bad after all! ha! Looks like I was so excited to see this ribbon that I didn't focus well.. slightly blurry..sorry!

One quilt that really caught my eye was Fog Bound by the Tidal Threads Quilt and Needlework Guild of Grand Manan Island. I am very sure that Mary Brown of FQG had a hand in this quilt as Mary now lives back on Grand Manan and was active in getting the guild going there. (Grand Manan is a small island in the Bay of Fundy, and is accessible only by ferry.)This is a fundraiser quilt for the Swallowtail Keepers Society, to help with the refurbishment of the iconic Swallowtail Light lighthouse there. The soft greys, blues and creams used represent the fog which is common when one lives on an island, and the boats and whales that ply the Bay are shown in the border. This quilt won 2nd place in the Group Hand Quilted category.

Another that I really liked was Pineapple Nine Patch by Ella Hopper (quilted by Jill Lloyd), which won 3rd place in the Group Machine Quilted section. Of course you know I was attracted to all those beautiful blue batiks!! This quilt would look SO lovely on my bed.... hint hint

Well folks, that's all for tonight...

To Be Continued.....

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Czechin' Out...

Okay. This is it. The LAST post on the Prague trip. I promise. No more after this. This is just the last few photos I wanted to share with you and they didn't really "fit" with a post... or I overlooked them. Random photos in random order...
Prague. Praha. Prazska. We're really here!
Laura walking through Prague's narrowest street.
Notice the "traffic/walk light" over her head.
It was a one way street, out of necessity!
Watering cans for the entire family...?
One of the many newlywed couples we saw.
Rockin' the red shoes!!
Dancers in the street.
Steps too pretty to pass by...
A cheese shop on Wenceslas Square.
The best fresh parmesan I've ever tasted!!
Czechs love their puppets!
Bouquet on a wedding limo...
Another interesting house "address sign".
The Three Ostriches was once the home of
a seller of ostrich plumes.
More puppets
Best part of the whole trip. The daughter. Not the beer...
Prague? Magical. Time with daughter? Priceless.

So that's it folks! I hope you have enjoyed the "armchair tour"... It certainly is an incredible city to visit, I would recommend it to anyone, especially if you enjoy history and/or architecture. I chuckle when I think back now to my original worries that there wouldn't be enough to "keep me busy" for 11 days... HA! If I had had more money (and new feet!) I could have stayed another two weeks!

I really enjoyed choosing travel quotes to end each of my posts as well. (I hope you noticed them!) I've chosen a favourite (and I really DO believe it!) to finish this off:  "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home." ~ James Michener


I would gladly live out of a suitcase if it meant I could see the world...

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