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

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!

 It's Christmas Eve! Only one more sleep! The tree is decorated, the shortbreads are frosted. I think I'm ready. I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my friends, blog followers and occasional readers a very Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a healthy and happy New Year. I did have several other pre-Christmas posts planned for this past week, but time has slipped away and they didn't get done. Sometimes life gets in the way and has other plans for you.
My father-in-law went into Palliative Care on Monday, and died today at around 5p.m. At least he is now at peace. I'll probably be absent from blogdom for a few days...

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, surrounded by the love of family and friends.


Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Book Traditions

Today is the shortest day of the year. The Winter Solstice. Okay, I guess it has 24 hours just like any other day, but the fewest hours of daylight. Acckkkk- I need longer days right now, not shorter days!! I still have lots to get done before the 25th... still a little shopping to do.. still a little decorating (can you believe we don't have our tree up yet??!!).. still some baking to do.. and lots of wrapping yet to do...
I am trying to stay calm.. Christmas will come and go whether I'm ready or not, I keep telling myself.
I'm really looking forward to the several days after Christmas when I can rest. I "go on strike" for a few days, and just put my feet up and read. We eat turkey leftovers and I don't do much other than turn pages and eat the occasional chocolate. I. Can't. Wait.
Speaking of Christmas traditions, I guess you could say books have always been a tradition in my family. I always got a new book or two for Christmas as a child, and that was often my favourite gift. The tradition continues, I still LOVE getting books for Christmas. I have a few on my list this year, but just in case Santa doesn't "come through", I have a good stack waiting for me - some on loan from friends, a few I've bought (just in case we have a huge storm and libraries and stores are closed down for days on end.. wink wink). Just like fabric and chocolate, one must have a "stash"!!  Here's the pile I have awaiting, I can hardly wait to delve into them. Actually there's one there that I have been reading, and am almost through, so it will be my next book review - The Gravity of Birds. However my reading time is very limited right now...
What are you reading?  Do you have any books on your Christmas Wish List?
Happy Winter Solstice! I hope you are all ready for Christmas and finding some time to relax and enjoy the season.


May your longest list this Christmas be the one that counts your blessings.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Traditions

Every family has traditions associated with Christmas that have been upheld through the years and must be continued. After all, it just wouldn't be Christmas otherwise, right? Some are associated with family, others with friends. One tradition I have always enjoyed is the exchange of Christmas cards between friends; sadly it seems to be one that is getting lost, with the advent (pun intended) of email, Facebook and other means of staying in touch via social media. I still send cards with a letter to many friends, but it seems with the large increase in postal rates earlier this year, many have given up on this tradition. We have received less than half the usual number, at this point.  Are you finding the same thing? I expected it, but still it makes me a little sad. I realize everyone is busy with all there is to be done at this time of year, but it is so nice to hear from those you don't see often, to catch up on their news. I admit, I send only half of mine now by post (doing my part to lighten the load of those overworked postal carriers) and the rest by email. Personally, I don't care how I hear from someone, by mail or electronically, as long as I do hear from them. I hope others feel the same way... It's a tradition I'll be keeping for a while. What about you?
Many of our traditions are related to food. Christmas dinner is definitely a "traditional meal" at our house. It's always turkey and all the fixin's. We don't do the cranberry thing- the Kellys have to have their spiced apple jelly, my grandmother's recipe. We always have the same type of salad- in fact we now refer to it as "Christmas Day Salad". The cooked veggies might vary from year to year, but the rest remains the same... the turkey, the dressing (stuffing) and gravy, the salad, the jelly and homemade pickles.... uhhh, okay I have to stop- this is making me hungry!
But first I have to tell you about dessert - it's always Christmas Pudding, again my Grandmother Kelly's recipe. It's a steamed pudding, made only for Christmas, definitely a tradition and a favourite at our house. I am the youngest with two older brothers who both love to tease. So I guess you could say it's always been tradition that my brothers teased me, even at Christmas dinner. Brother Leigh always tries to "steal" my pudding, or more accurately steal the hard sauce that accompanies the pudding. Many people serve steamed puddings with a warm sauce, but we have ours with a "hard sauce" which is just a rich butter icing that's been frozen and cut into squares. No matter how large the pieces are cut, Leigh will "complain" that his is not large enough, and that he's been shortchanged on the hard sauce.
Someone commented  on my last post that they wished I had posted the recipe for the Christmas Pudding, so here it is.

Grammy Lil's Christmas Pudding

1 cup sultana raisins
1 cup currants
1 cup suet
1 cup brown sugar
maraschino cherries to taste, coarsely chopped (I use about 20 cherries)
blanched almonds to taste, coarsely chopped (I use about 1/2 cup)
2 Tblsp. each citron and mixed peel
1 cup finely shredded raw carrot
1 cup finely shredded raw potato
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt

In large mixing bowl, stir together raisins, currants, cherries, nuts, citron, peel, brown sugar and suet. Peel and grate the carrot and potato, stir the baking soda into the grated potato. Add grated vegetables to fruit mixture, stir well.

Sift flour with salt, add to mixture and stir well. Line tube pan with waxed paper. Spread batter evenly in pan. Steam for 3 hours. Check it frequently and add water as needed, ie don't let it boil dry!! Cool well. Wrap in saran, then foil. Store in refrigerator.
For serving, cut in individual pieces and steam until heated through. Serve with hard sauce or your choice of sauces.

I don't have a "recipe" for the hard sauce as I don't measure... But I'm guessing I use about 1/4 cup soft butter (yes it must be butter, margarine just doesn't cut it) to about 2 cups confectioner's sugar and enough cream to make it spreading consistency. I flavor it with almond extract, but vanilla is good too. Spread into a square or rectangle about 1/4" thick, on waxed paper or foil, place on cookie sheet and place in freezer. After several hours, when solid, slide it into a ziploc bag and seal, return to freezer. Cut into squares to serve (in a size large enough to keep all your guests happy. wink)

I should add the table always holds a plate of other dessert goodies too, for the two fussy ones who don't like Pudding... Shortbreads, Cinnamon Stick Shortbreads, Almond Fingers, and several kinds of chocolate squares...  And of course.. a bowl of Chicken Bones.

What Christmas traditions do you follow? What is your special Christmas dessert?


A three year old's reaction to her Christmas dinner: "I don't like the turkey, but I like the bread he ate."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A New Cookie Favourite

Christmas Eve is now only a week away... can you hear the slight panic in my voice? Actually I'm finally starting to feel like I've made significant progress. I'm not ready, mind you, but I have made good progress. The Christmas letter is written and all cards to be mailed are on their way and in some weary postal carrier's bag by now hopefully. I do still have some to go by email but I'll chip away at those each day. I've made good strides on the shopping front and so far have avoided the dreaded mall totally. I'll probably cave in the next day or two, and try to get all the necessary stops there done in one visit. It's not my favourite place at this time of year. The decorating is almost finished, all that remains is what I need more than two hands for, so I expect I'll pin down the hubby tonight for a little help. And the baking has begun as well. Two batches of cookies are done, two batches of Nut Brittle are also done (and already given away) and I have all the fixin's for the Christmas Pudding; I'll mix it up and steam it this evening. Shortbreads and Cinnamon Sticks (shortbread logs rolled in cinnamon sugar) are next on the list. A friend gifted me with two containers of homemade mincemeat a few days ago so I am seeing a Mincemeat pie in my future too.. yummy! What a wonderful gift that was!! Good homemade mincemeat ranks right up there with good dark chocolate in my books! I can't name the person here who was the giver, and she knows why... but I'm sure she'll read this, so THANK YOU again. Know that it has found a good home! lol
I've tried a new cookie recipe, given to me by my friend Sue. She said she found it in Best of Bridge (sorry I don't know which one) and it was called Tutti Fruitti Cookies. I just call them Yummy!! Seriously, I could eat the entire batch myself. I won't. But I could. Just sayin'...
So I thought you might like to try them too. Here you go:

Tutti Fruitti Cookies

1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups toasted coconut
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)

Spread coconut on baking sheet and toast under broiler until lightly browned - watch carefully! (I did one cup at a time for more even browning) Let cool. Chop dried apricots. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and sour cream, mix well. Add dry ingds., mix well. Stir in cooled toasted coconut, apricots and craisins. The original recipe says to divide dough in half and roll into two logs, wrap in waxed paper and chill well, then slice into slices about 1/3" wide. I thought the dough was a little sticky for that so I just dropped them from a spoon like you would with chocolate chip cookies (yes I always have chocolate on my mind ) Bake at 350°F until lightly browned, about 8-9 minutes.
I threw in some chopped pecans as well - yes I'm a nut lover too! Trust me - these are SO good, you will want to make another batch as soon as they are gone!!  :)  Not "fancy" - just darn good with a hot cuppa or a glass of cold milk!!


Dear Santa,
I've been SO good all year!
Okay, most of the time.
Once in a while.
Oh never mind, I'll just buy my own stuff.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Acckkk! How can it be mid-December?

I don't know where the time goes. I have not posted anything new for a week, and several nights ago a friend accused me of being a "slacker"! (The nerve!)  I assure you, I am not slacking off! I am just busy!! And I haven't had much of anything that I can show you.. after all, Christmas is coming, ya know!! My camera has been neglected as there haven't been any idyllic wintery scenes to photograph lately- we have had days of rain and have very little snow left. What there is, is dirty and not the least bit photogenic!
I've been busy singing and "Christmas party-ing", sewing and stitching, cleaning and decorating.. (Ollie is such a  big help with the decorating. He's like a child - he gets so excited when he sees those big boxes and bags coming up from the basement - he loves jumping in and out of the boxes and especially playing with the paper. The first thing I do each Christmas is set up the nativity. The figures are wrapped in packing paper, and like a one year old, he loves playing with that paper- it's the best thing as far as he is concerned...) The baking and card/letter writing have not yet begun, and I've done very little shopping either (still waiting for divine inspiration to hit...) So you see, I haven't had time for blogging. Other things are taking priority right now, I'm sure you understand. It IS a busy time of year...
To tell the truth, I am struggling with getting into the spirit this year. I thought our choir concert would do the trick, but this entire week of dull grey days and heavy rains has certainly not helped...  Both my parents died just before Christmas, and now my father-in-law is very low. All through the fall he's been in and out of hospital, nursing home respite bed, then back in hospital. We're not sure how much longer he will last. Laura will not be home for Christmas this year, and it's the first time in my life that someone will be absent at Christmas... So I'm finding it a little hard to feel jolly these days...
I'm also suffering from PPMD. I'm sure you've heard of ADHD, PTSD, OCPD, COPD... But you may not have heard of PPMD - but I bet many of you have experienced it. At least the quilters in my readership... PPMD stands for Post Project Mess Disorder and I have it big time! So that's what I'm dealing with today- trying to bring some order to the chaos that is my studio at present. I think I need  a file clerk- someone to fold and put away fabric, project direction sheets, notes, etc. etc. lol Yes, I think I'll post a "Help Wanted" ad in the paper... Now if I could just find someone to do my cards, letters and shopping too... Anyone interested??


Don't get your tinsel in a tangle...

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's a Good Day...

photo from www.measha,com
Last night I had the privilege of attending a local (sold out) concert by Measha Brueggergosman. All I can say is WOW! She has a new Christmas album out and part of the concert was Christmas music, with a smattering of other music as well. Her rich tone, her tremendous vocal range,  her command of the stage, her incredible band (Aaron Davis on keyboards, in
photo from
particular) all combined for an awesome evening. I can't sum it up any better than this paragraph from the programme: "One of the most significant sopranos performing today, Fredericton's own Measha Brueggergosman is critically acclaimed as much for her innate musicianship and voluptuous voice as for her strong stage presence far beyond her years. Brueggergosman has performed with some of the world's most celebrated orchestras and has carried her own solo shows in major venues around the world, repeatedly breaking the stereotype of an opera diva, and standing apart as a fresh and youthful ambassador for classical music."
It's been quite a while since I've seen Measha perform live, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but let me tell you, she did not disappoint. She is on the eastern Canada leg of her Christmas Tour now, so if she is coming to a venue near you, and tickets are still available, run, don't walk- give yourself a Christmas treat, and attend her performance. You can see her tour schedule here.
I still love Measha's duet with David Myles, "Whole to my Half", I think it will always be a favourite. You can listen to it here. Fredericton is so very proud of these two "home town kids"...    :)

A few days ago I promised to show you a surprise I got in the mail this week- As a thank-you for being a hostess in this year's Blogathon Canada, I received a Fat Quarter bundle from Sew Sisters of Toronto and a "six pack" of thread from sponsor Aurifil. What a lovely gift, and a complete surprise! Don't you just love it when the doorbell rings and you see the mailman standing there with a parcel for you?! Thanks Sew Sisters and Aurifil!! You're the BEST!

Other great news to share today: dear son Mark just got his first "real job"! (Insert big WHOOP!! here) Today is the final day of his six month clinical practicum for Medical Lab Technologist, and he just secured a job at our local hospital, starting Monday morning!! Guess he won't be sleeping in on Monday, as he thought... lol

Darling daughter Laura also is now working. She is in Ontario, and has been job-hunting all fall. She started working three weeks ago for an online travel agency, in their head office in Hamilton. She is their SEO copywriter with duties including writing copy, managing and creating marketing campaigns and contests, social media work, SEO (that's Search Engine Optimization) and analytics, and writing blog posts for TripSense. So far, she loves it!  (another Big Whoop!!) Although she feels there is a big learning curve for the business aspect of things, I assured her this is common with any new job. Check out her company at I am so proud of both of them!!

The sun is shining brightly today, although it's very nippy out there... -11°C at the moment. I plan on spending the afternoon sewing, trying to get some Christmas sewing finished up... Can't show you any photos, as a certain someone might see... wink   Can't say who that would be but that might be her on the left... lol
While I'm sewing, I'll be singing.. still some work to be done on this Sunday's concert repertoire...


Music is my escape. It silences the world and my worries.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's Chicken Bone Time!

My friend Sandi Mac posted this video this morning on Facebook, and since it's such an iconic New Brunswick "thing" I thought I should share it with you. To my readers who no longer live in the Maritimes, I'm sure this will bring the taste to mind, as it's a memory no Maritimer will ever forget. For the rest of you, this is a New Brunswick candy, popular especially at Christmas. It is a cinnamon flavoured hard candy with a thick thread of dark chocolate through the middle. Mmmmmm good! We call them "Chicken Bones". They are made by Ganong Brothers, a New Brunswick institution since 1873.
Chicken Bones™ were "invented" by Ganong candy-maker Frank Sparhawk in 1885. They are still one of Ganongs most popular products today, and in fact, many Maritimers feel it's just not Christmas without chicken bones! Although the video below shows the candy-making process by hand, I suspect it is a little outdated as I believe the process is now fully mechanized. Regardless, it is still interesting to watch as they were made this way for many years (and they still taste just as good, no matter how they are made!!)
Once a year, Ganongs, located in St. Stephen N.B. which borders Maine, is the center of
Chocolate Fest, a week long festival held the first week of August. St. Stephen, known as Canada's Chocolate Town, is alive with many chocolate-related events, the week is "choc-full" you might say. (Sorry, couldn't resist the pun!) Chocolate-themed luncheons and dinners, contests, a parade, lots of fun! We took our children when they were young, and haven't been since- I think it's time for a return. (Note to self- mark it on 2015 calendar...) What I remember best is the factory tour, (our Guide was Nick Ganong, then a University student, now VP of Sales and Business Development) where we got many samples of Ganong products, but by far the best was the warm chicken bones right off the conveyor belt. Chicken bones are good at any time, but they are BEST warm and fresh... mmmmm.... I don't think factory tours are given anymore, so I'm glad we did take advantage then.

You might be interested to know that the world's first chocolate bar was invented by Ganongs - the very first chocolate bar was called Pal-O-Mine and it is still produced today. Ganongs also introduced the heart-shaped candy box so popular at Valentine's, and lollipops. Ganongs is probably best known for their hand-dipped chocolates; an experienced employee could dip up to 12,00 chocolates per day, each with its own distinctive identifying swirl on top!! Today the Ganong company is the only family-owned large candy company in Canada, and it still maintains a factory (at 1 Chocolate Drive!) and company headquarters in St. Stephen N.B.
That's my sweet post for today.. gotta go, I'm craving some chocolate. Think I might have to go find those chicken bones.... What's your favourite Christmas candy?


"Chocolate is health food for the soul." ~ Miranda Gray

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December... already!

It's a rather nasty day weather-wise, here in Freddy Beach. We had snow overnight, and as the temps have risen we've had more than a few hours of freezing rain. I had to cancel my class that was scheduled for today. I hate doing that, because it's so hard to re-schedule, especially at this time of year when everyone is so busy. But with two of the ladies living outside of town, I knew their drive in would not be easy, so better to be safe. I would not want to feel responsible for someone ending up in the ditch, or worse. So I'm spending the day catching up on emails, laundry, and a little decorating.
I have been doing some sewing, but since it is all for gifts, I can only show you one small project which has already been sent and received. You will see the others, you'll just have to be patient... wink
My friend Kathleen in Maine burned her hand very badly a few weeks ago so has been trying to negotiate life with her hand all wrapped up in bandages (see her photo here). What a pain, especially at this time of year. I know how frustrating it can be, as I was somewhat "out of commission" a few years ago at Christmas with a shoulder injury. So I thought perhaps a pair of Mug Rugs made in Christmas fabrics might cheer her up. She received them yesterday and was so happy with them. She said they really brightened her day, which was my sole intention!  :)  (Tomorrow I'll show you the special surprise I received in the mail this week.)
I have made some other mug rugs too, but sent them off to DD Laura and forgot about a photo until they were in the mail. With the placemats I've made lately, there is always a strip of leftover Stiff Stuff, about 3-4" wide - not really enough to do much with. So I've been cutting the leftovers up and zigzagging them together, then using them for the base of the Mug Rugs. Works perfectly, and you can't tell there's a seam there. I did Laura's pair with the fabric strips running crosswise instead of lengthwise, and this pair with the fabric strips running diagonally. I think I like them the best! It's a quick and easy gift, and a great way to use up odds and ends of Christmas (or any) fabrics.
Before you go- why not pop by Kathy's blog and say Hello, and wish her a speedy recovery? I'm sure she'd love to hear from you.


Life is a boomerang. What you give, you get.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Choir Concert

Our Ladies Choir Christmas Concert is only a week away now - it's next Sunday, December 7th at 3pm at St. Dunstans Church. Doors open at 2:15, and tickets are still available for a few more days from Choir members. After Tuesday night, you'll have to purchase your tickets at Westminster Books on King Street, or take a chance on getting one at the door. This concert is usually a sell-out, so don't wait too long, you may be disappointed. Why not give yourself the gift of music this Christmas?


"Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand." ~ Stevie Wonder

Saturday, November 29, 2014

It's Coming....

It's coming up soon... No, not Christmas (well yes, that IS coming soon too) but I'm talking about Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party - coming in January 2015. You can read all the details here, but here are  the basics - this is an event for bloggers - all those participating will be listed, grouped by the number of followers they have. It is designed to help us all find new and interesting blogs to read/follow, and to really give a little boost to those just starting out, with few followers, to gain a "readership" (is that even a word??) While you are finding new blogs which interest you, others will be finding YOUR blog and hopefully choosing to follow you! So it is aptly named - "Grow Your Blog". I joined in last year, and found so many new and interesting friends to follow, and I picked up a number of new followers too. It is open to anyone anywhere. If you wish to join the fun, you must sign up here by January 17th, 2015. It's only November and there are over 100 signed up already! It's going to be even bigger and better than last year which had almost 600 participants! New this year, you can list up to three hobbies you enjoy and blog about, so this will aid in "like-minded" people finding your blog, and you finding other bloggers with similar interests. I do hope you'll consider joining in the fun. Why not pop on over to Vicki's right now and see what it's all about?


The best vitamin for making friends? B1

Friday, November 28, 2014

Another Book Finish

As winter sets in, I find myself stock-piling books... some on loan from friends, some are new purchases... Do you do the same, or is it just me? Maybe it's the fear of a long power outage during a storm... one wouldn't want to be without a good book, now would one? lol  Perhaps I'm like the squirrels gathering nuts for the winter.... gotta have a good "store" in...
My latest "finish" is Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann, loaned to me by my good friend Sandi Mac. It is the tale of two single young women living in New York City, a century apart. Amanda Rosenbloom owns and runs a vintage clothing shop in lower East Side Manhattan. When she finds a journal hidden in a piece of vintage clothing, she is fascinated as she begins to read the story of Olive Westcott who lived in the same neighbourhood in 1907. Olive was a young lady from a "respectable family" who due to unforeseen circumstances, finds herself alone in NYC at a time when women of her background did not work. Her ambition is to become a department store buyer, but it will not be easy. The story alternates back and forth between 2007 and 1907, chapter by chapter. Although their lives are very different, both women experience challenges financially, career-wise and in their personal relationships. As the story proceeds, there are more and more "parallels" between Olive and Amanda and it becomes increasingly difficult to put this book down...
It's no secret that I love New York City and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the city's history, and what it was like for a single young woman living there in the early 1900's.  Vintage photos of Manhattan are a bonus! If you have enjoyed Mr. Selfridge on Masterpiece Classic on PBS, you will love this book! A delightful read from beginning to end...


"What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you." ~ Anne Lamott

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Novembrrrr. It's almost over. Good! I won't miss it's dismal monochromatic character, it's shortened days, its greyness. I guess I'm a "colour girl". I like colour, and lots of it, please and thank you. November with its dress of grey and brown just doesn't "do it" for me. The gardener in me misses the greens and the vibrant colors of my garden blooms, the photographer in me misses the rich reds of the maples and sumac, the saturated yellows and golds and coppers of the birches and oaks, the last "hurrah!" of Autumn as she shows off her coat of many colors on our hillsides and valleys. Perhaps this is nature's way of preparing us for the busy season ahead, the hustle and bustle as we prepare for the Christmas season. Perhaps this brief "neutral" palette is restful and calming as we settle down for winter...
I guess we can see beauty in all things, if we just look... I was away last week for 2 days, to visit a friend who lives not quite an hour away. We've been trying to get together forever for a "girl's night" and a sleepover; we're both so busy, it's taken us way too long to "make it happen". But happen it did, and we both enjoyed some time to visit, chat, eat, and appreciate our long friendship. When we woke in the morning, snow had fallen overnight and their waterfront property was cloaked in white. This photo does not do the scene justice. I have to admit, despite the lack of color, it was beautiful. The lake had just a faint skim of ice, the trees didn't seem to mind the frosting of soft fluffy snow, and the total. silence.  was.  beautiful. Peaceful. Calming to the soul.


“But there is always a November space after the leaves have fallen when she felt it was almost indecent to intrude on the woods…for their glory terrestrial had departed and their glory celestial of spirit and purity and whiteness had not yet come upon them.”
~ L.M. Montgomery. Anne of Windy Poplars

Monday, November 24, 2014

We Have a WINNER!

Blogathon Canada 2014 is over. Wasn't it fun? I hope you discovered lots of new exciting blogs to follow, and hopefully you made some new friends along the way too. I know I did. I still have a number of blogs to visit as I was out of town for two days so that really cut into my "visiting" time... I will continue this week.
I kept a list of my commentors as the comments rolled in, assigning each a number. I counted only one comment per person (as some people left more than one comment) so everyone had one fair chance. I was surprised at how many were No Reply/Comment bloggers, or Google+ users, with no access to their email. People, if you want to have a chance of winning in a Giveaway, you have to be reachable!! If you are a No Reply/Comment blogger and you don't include your email with your comment, you are out of luck. Simple as that!! And not everyone is on Google +. Just sayin'...
When all was said and done, and comments were counted I had 282 "eligible" comments. Just because I enjoy seeing where my visitors are from, I kept track of locations as well (and yes, many didn't tell me where they were from). The majority were Canadian (150 - every province!), 81 were from the USA, 4 from the UK, 3 from France, 2 from Australia, and single visitors from Finland, Greece, Spain, Germany, and Italy! Awesome!!
I asked my hubby to choose five numbers between 1 and 282, in case some were No Reply bloggers. And guess what - the first two he chose were just that - unreachable! (Point taken!) So, the lucky winner was the third number he chose - 275 - and that was........... drumroll please..................... Jennifer of  Tamworth, NSW Australia. Jennifer blogs at Bronze Wombat and commented: "Love your quilts! I am visiting from Tamworth, Australia, where it's been very hot and dry. I'll swap you for some of your cooler weather right now!" I have emailed Jennifer to tell her the good news. Sew Sisters will be sending her that gorgeous bundle of blue batiks!! Congratulations Jennifer!!! I know you will create something wonderful with these beauties!!
Thank you to ALL who visited and left such lovely comments. I enjoyed hearing from you all!! And a warm welcome to my new Followers too! I hope you'll visit often.
Finally, a huge THANK YOU to Sew Sisters of Toronto for hosting the Blogathon, and to all the sponsors - Auriful, Robert Kaufman, Timeless Treasures, Northcott and Camelot Fabrics. I had great fun and I'm sure everyone else did too. I hope we do it again next year!!


May today's success be the beginning of tomorrow's achievements.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Welcome to Blogathon Canada Day 2 in Atlantic Canada

Hello! Welcome to Blogathon Canada! My name is Linda and I'm honored to be one of your hosts for Day 2 in Atlantic Canada, along with Linda at Scrapmaster. There are so many exciting things going on today! First of all be sure to stop by Sew Sisters, the Blogathon sponsor, to enter today's giveaway of goodies from Camelot Fabrics. Remember to check back at Sew Sisters each day this week, for a new giveaway! There are wonderful prizes to be won! Don't miss out.

"Blue Northwind" - generous twin size
Below is a list of links to other blogs in Atlantic Canada that I encourage you to stop by and visit, and of course I have an exciting giveaway too! But first let me tell you a bit about myself.

I've been sewing since the age of 12, quilting for over 25 years, and teaching quilting classes at local quilt shops and for Guilds for almost as long. I am a retired school teacher, and I have to say, teaching quilting classes is more fun!! For a little sample of my "teaching", you'll find two tutorials on my sidebar; I hope to add more in the future.

"Talkin' Turkey,"  a Bonnie Hunter design

 I love everything about the quilt-making process, especially choosing the  fabrics (I love color!) and piecing the tops. For me the journey, the "process", is more important than the destination. Scrap quilts are a particular favourite right now.

I've been blogging for almost 6 years and am so grateful for the many wonderful friends I have made through this blog.

"Not Quite Civil Pineapple", 8.75" sq.

 Lately I've been bitten by the "Miniatures bug" and I enjoy the challenge of seeing how small I can go, while still being absolutely precise in the piecing. (Some people think I'm crazy, I'm sure.) Actually I do enjoy Crazy Quilting too! You can see my Miniatures and Crazy Quilting in the Galleries on my sidebar. This miniature is 8.75" square and has nearly 450 pieces. It's one of my "garbage can quilts" - made with scraps anyone else would throw in the garbage. Not me! If it's larger than 1/2" square, I save it! (Did I already say some think I'm crazy?) Miniatures is one of my most favourite classes to teach.

 I hope you'll spend a little time looking around my blog. You can see more of my quilts by clicking on the "My Quilts" and "Small Projects" labels. You'll notice that quilting is not my only hobby. I am also a stitcher, a gardener, an avid reader and a photographer. So you'll find some gardening posts, book reviews, the occasional tried and true recipe, and lots of photography. I hope you'll return to visit me again, and I'd be very happy if you chose to "follow" my blog!

Now, on to some other bloggers in my area. I know some of these gals in person, and look forward to getting to know the others. After visiting them, don't forget to come back to enter my giveaway!

Marjorie's Busy Corner

Through My Window 

Judy Cooper Textile Images

Quilt, Knit, Run, Sew

Devoted Quilter

One Mother of a Blog


Sister of the Brush 

A Pictorial Quilter's Journey 

The Q and the U

Cool Cats

It Is what It Is!

Love to Quilt

Fredericton Quilters' Guild

Cotton Mill Quilt Guild

Elm City Quilt Guild 

Now, on to my Giveaway of a luscious batik Fat Quarter Bundle, courtesy of Sew Sisters. (Naturally it is blue, my favourite color!) It is open to everyone, no matter where you live, and there are no hoops to jump through and no word verification. Just leave me a comment below ON THIS POST and tell me where you are visiting from. That's it! Easy peasy. There is one tiny catch though- you must have an email address. If you are a No Reply blogger, a WordPress blogger or you don't have a google account, you must leave your email address in your comment, otherwise I cannot reach you, should you be the lucky one drawn! The Giveaway remains open until midnight my time Nov. 23, the winner will be drawn and announced on Nov. 24. I will email the winner.

Finally, don't forget to visit my host partner today, Linda at Scrapmaster. She, too, has a wonderful Giveaway for you to enter, and more great Maritime bloggers for you to visit. 

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy Blogathon Canada the rest of this week - each day two host bloggers will have giveaways and a list of other blogs for you to visit! Now how great is that! I know you'll want to join me in saying "Thanks Sew Sisters!"


"Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold."
~ Joseph Parry

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blogathon Canada Day 1

Today is the first day of Blogathon Canada 2014. Today's hosts, Stacey of  Stacey in Stitches and Jessica of Momiji Studio are in British Columbia. You'll want to visit both of them to see their wonderful quilts, surf their blogs and enter their giveaways. On their posts you'll see a list of other B.C. quilting bloggers, so there are lots of new blogs to visit and new friends to make! And of course don't forget to visit Sew Sisters, the Blogathon host, to enter their daily giveaway (click here), today's sponsor is Aurifil.

Tomorrow, Blogathon Canada moves across the country and comes to Altlantic Canada, where I'll be hosting, along with Linda of Scrapmaster. (Yes, tomorrow is "Linda Day"! lol)  Be sure to come back tomorrow and visit us - we'll both have awesome giveaways with prizes provided by Sew Sisters, and a list of Maritime blogs for you to visit. By the way the giveaways are open to everyone - Sew Sisters will ship anywhere in the world. All you need is an email address to comment and enter. More on that tomorrow.

It's snowing here today, and although it's been melting all morning, it's now starting to accumulate. Ugh. I know winter IS coming, before long we'll be looking at a white world, which I guess is better than November's dull neutral palette of browns and greys. Neutrals are great in quilting - we need them! But I find November to be such a dreary and uninspiring month.. good thing we have Christmas-y greens and reds to brighten things up!  :)

Remember to come back and visit me tomorrow! Until then...keep stitching!!


"Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them."
~ Francesco Guicciardini

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Rug for my Mug

I have a very small "finish" to share with you today. Last week for my "Start to Finish" class, I needed something to use for demo-ing how to do a proper binding with mitred corners. Since I didn't have a project ready for binding, I decided to just make up something small. What to do? While looking at someone else's blog, I saw Mug Rugs. The perfect thing! Small AND quick!! (For those of you who have never heard of a mug rug- it's basically just an oversized coaster- large enough to set your mug and a few cookies on...) Can you believe I had never made a Mug Rug?!!
Using selvages is another popular "thing" these days - something else I've never done. So I thought maybe I'd combine the two. When I started looking through my Christmas-y fabrics (which, surprisingly I don't have many of) very few had interesting selvages. I found one with lots of color dots and I did use it on this "prototype" but decided I'd save the rest in case I make a few more of these.
I had no idea what size to make the Mug Rug, it seems they vary in size, and I didn't want mine too large as I usually use a small mug anyway. I had some  scraps of Stiff Stuff ™ to use for the batting so the width of those scraps determined the size. I simply chose some scraps and a few already cut strips of Christmas fabrics and a red and green or two, and quickly stitched up the top (stitch and flip method, right through the Stiff Stuff™), then layered and quilted in the ditch with  a red metallic thread for a little sparkle. Not bad for 15 minutes work. I chose a nice bright red polkadot for the binding, and it was the perfect size for a demo for the class.
So there it is - finished. It measures 4.5" by 7.5". Of course I needed some cookies as "models" for the photo shoot, and I haven't done any Christmas baking yet. So I had to go to the Goody Shop (local bakery) for a few Almond Fingers. Oh, the sacrifices I make for this blog!!  wink wink
So if you're looking for a quick and easy something for a small gift for someone, why not make them a  Mug Rug or two. Of course you can get fancier than I did, and do some appliqué or what have you. A couple of years ago a member of our Guild brought in some sweet ones she had made. Barb pieced a very simple tree (triangle with a trunk) then used the color dot selvages to "trim" the trees diagonally like garland. Now how cute would that be??!!


I'm working on my PhD in quilting - Projects Half Done!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wrapped in Rain (the book, not the weather)

Another recent book finish, Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin, is a beautifully written story. It will tug at your heart strings as you laugh, cry and shake your head. Brothers Tucker and Mutt Mason grew up in rural Alabama with a cruel, abusive, alcoholic father who was far more concerned with making money than paying any attention to them. Their only mother-figure was their black housekeeper, Miss Ella Rain, the middle aged childless widowed granddaughter of a slave. Despite suffering frequent beatings at the hands of their father, and a minimum wage salary, Miss Rain sacrificed her own life to ensure the safety and proper upbringing of the boys, and loved them as if they were her own.
Years later, Tucker, now an internationally famous photographer, returns home to the large southern estate where he grew up, to find that his brother Mutt has escaped from the mental hospital where he has been living. He must decide whether or not to place Mutt in a more secure facility. When an old girlfriend shows up with a black eye and a young son in tow, Tucker feels he must stick around and try to come to terms with his painful past, while dealing with the present challenges. Can he forgive his father? Can he help his schizophrenic brother Mutt calm his obsessive fears and the voices in his head? Although Miss Ella is long gone, Tucker can still hear her guiding voice, telling him what is right and wrong. Can she somehow help him find forgiveness and peace at last?
This is the first book by New York Times best-selling author Martin I have read (but it won't be the last.) His strength is his descriptive writing. His characters are detailed and vivid, and you as the reader feel as if you know them intimately; you can't help but care about them. They stay with you long after you've read the final page...


"Tucker, I want to tell you a secret." Miss Ella curled my hand into a fist and showed it to me. "Life is a battle, but you can't fight it with your fists. You got to fight it with your heart." ~ Charles Martin, Wrapped in Rain

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget

Today, November 11, we honour our war dead, soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice by giving their lives for our freedom. With the recent acts of violence in our country, the murder of three RCMP officers and wounding of two others in Moncton in June, and the killing of two soldiers in  Quebec and Ottawa a few short weeks ago, let us be even more grateful to those who serve our country every day and keep us safe, and let's continue to pray for peace in this crazy world we live in.
Lest We Forget.
Look closely at this poppy - do you see the shadow of the soldier on the right - standing with his pack and helmet on? I took this photo last July in a friend's garden...

Remember Me
(The voice of the dead)

Remember me
Duty called and I went to war
Though I'd never fired a gun before
I paid the price for your new day
As all my dreams were blown away

Remember me
We all stood true as whistles blew
And faced the shell and stench of Hell
Now battle's done, there is no sound
Our bones decay beneath the ground
We cannot see, or smell, or hear
There is no death, or hope or fear

Remember me
Once we, like you, would laugh and talk
And run and walk and do the things that you all do
But now we lie in rows so neat
Beneath the soil, beneath your feet

Remember me
In mud and gore and the blood of war
We fought and fell and move no more
Remember me, I am not dead
I'm just a voice within your head

~Harry Riley


"If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace." ~John Lennon

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Finish to Start the Week

A "finish" feels good anytime, but it feels great to start the week off with a finish! Here is the finished set of four placemats that I started a few weeks ago. Two were completed then and I used the other two for demo-ing  in my "Start to Finish" class on Saturday at the
Christmas Crab Quiltery, and finished them up  yesterday. As I've said before, I really like this pattern, called Take Four Placemats. (If you can't find it in your local quilt shop, it is available for download and purchase here.) I think I just might have to make a set (or two) of these with Christmas fabrics too! My tutorial on an easy method of finishing placemats has been very popular, and it is now listed on my sidebar too!
Our class went very well. The first time you teach a particular class you just never know how it will go, time-wise. I was very pleased that they got as far as they did on assembling the four mats. Although I do not bind placemats, I also taught them how to do a proper binding, with mitred corners, so they have all the basic skills now for doing a simple project, from the fabric prep and cutting, to the final step of binding.  :) As Martha would say, "It's a good thing!"
We also had a good chat about "doing your best." One of the gals said she was somewhere in a group and another lady accused her, in a very condescending tone, of being "a perfectionist" (as if it was a bad thing...??!!) She told her accuser that she always tries to do her best so she can be proud of her work. I would have done the same thing; I too have high standards for myself and always try to do my very best work. If I'm not happy with how something has turned out, and I think I could do better, I'll take it out and re-do it. (On the other hand, we are all our own worst critics and it's silly to spend precious time obsessing over a tiny detail that others will never notice. Will it be seen from twenty paces on a galloping horse? Do your best, then move on and know you'll do even better the next time.)
I suspect the "accuser" was a "slap-dash - that's good enough" sort, and perhaps she was a wee bit jealous of the fine work she was being shown. What do you think?
This little story reminded me of the saying below... I can still hear my mother saying it to me...


Good, better, best,
Never let it rest
'Til your good is better,
And your better, best !

Friday, November 7, 2014

Personal Photo Challenge - Trees

 It's time again for the monthly Personal Photo Challenge. It's been a few months since I've participated so I'm happy to get back to it! It seems I've had little time this fall for photography, other things have kept me occupied, but all fall I had this month's theme of trees on my mind. Both of these shots were taken on the same day, late in the afternoon within minutes of each other. I was tired after a day of teaching a workshop, and just wanted to get on the highway for my 2.5 hour drive home. As I drove out of town towards the highway I spied this tree in a cemetery and knew that I had to pull over to take a few photos.  I do not know what type of tree it is, but if one was trying to make a cemetery look creepy, this would be a good choice of species, don't you think? I boosted the colour saturation just slightly and gave it the dark edges to increase it's "spooky" look. What a great tree and setting this would be on Hallowe'en night if one was setting up a Spooky Walk for children.... This photo was taken in Amherst Nova Scotia.

A very short time later, I pulled off the highway to grab a quick bite for supper, and then treated myself to a cone of icecream. As I drove out of Sackville NB, I passed through the campus of Mount Allison University and this beautiful pond where swans and ducks were feeding. This beautiful maple caught my eye. Again, I quickly pulled over, slung my purse over one shoulder and camera over the other, dripping icecream cone still in hand. You would have laughed to see me trying to get this photo "one-handed" as I tried to find a "clean" spot (free of duck poo) to kneel in the grass...  The student who was taking a brief break from her studies and catching the last rays of late afternoon sun under that glorious maple took me right back to my student days...  I wish the sky had been bluer, the sun hadn't disappeared behind cloud just as I got out of the car, and that blasted pole was not front and centre - these would have improved the photo - but I did the best I could. And I left with only two spots of duck poo on my knee, and melted icecream all over my camera strap... lol

Be sure to visit Donna's Personal Photo Challenge here to see the wonderful creative efforts of other participants.


"Not everybody trusts paintings, but people believe photographs." ~ Ansel Adams

Off to a Quilt Show

What's better than going to a quilt show?  Going to a LOCAL quilt show!! When you can be there fondling fabric and admiring quilts within 15 minutes of your own studio...well ya just gotta love that! There are three quilters' guilds here in my small city, and this weekend one of those guilds, Elm City QG is holding a show. The quilts are displayed in the sanctuary of a church, laid over the pews. You have to agree, there's not many things more beautiful than a church full of quilts, now is there?
So I know you want to see what I you go. I took very few individual shots, it tends to be a bit more challenging when they are displayed in this manner and you can only see a portion of many of them. So I hope you'll be happy with these "overall" shots...

Brown totebag by Kathy Feltmate, miniatures by Bertha Mazerolle and Dora Martin and fall runner by Marg Routledge
Miniatures by Joyce Newman
It's a wonderful show! Thanks Elm City quilters!


Our souls are fed by needle and thread...

Thursday, November 6, 2014



How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow.

~ Elsie N. Brady

November has arrived with its dreary hues of grey and brown. The days grow shorter, the cold weather is moving in with its foggy mornings, its killing frosts. So many trees now stand bare, bracing against the blustery winds, their leaves lying in a soggy mat, their crisp crunchiness gone with October's vibrant color. We've already had our first snow, our first nor'easter. And another is on the way, with this last one barely melted away. Sigh... we have to face the reality of winter coming. No wonder I tend to retreat to my studio where all I have to do is flip a switch for bright cheery light, and look at my palette of fabric for a rainbow of colour!
I've been busy getting things ready for my class this Saturday, and doing a little prep work for a few Christmas projects. Of course I can't show you those yet, as they will be gifts. You'll have to be patient, my lovelies! Stay tuned! I'll have a few small projects to show soon.  :)


“But there is always a November space after the leaves have fallen when she felt it was almost indecent to intrude on the woods…for their glory terrestrial had departed and their glory celestial of spirit and purity and whiteness had not yet come upon them.”  ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars

Monday, November 3, 2014

Blogathon Canada

Today I have an exciting announcement to make! A few days ago, I told you to watch for more info on Blogathon Canada which is coming up November 17-22. Well, today I can finally tell you I will be one of the hosts for this blogathon! Linda, who blogs at Scrapmaster, and I will be sharing "hosting duties" for the atlantic provinces on Tuesday Nov. 18.
This is the third year for Blogathon Canada, sponsored by Sew Sisters Quilt Shop in Toronto. This year will be bigger and better than ever! So, are you wondering "Just what is Blogathon Canada?" It's a week long celebration of Canadian quilting bloggers: a way to connect, find new blogs, make new friends, AND win some amazing prizes! (Who doesn't like to win prizes??!!) Sew Sisters will have sponsored giveaways on their blog during the week, so you'll want to be sure to visit there to check out those giveaways from these wonderful sponsors: Aurifil, Northcott fabrics, Robert Kaufman fabrics, Timeless Treasures and Camelot Fabrics!

Woo-hoooo! You just know the giveaway prizes from these sponsors will. be. awesome!

Here's how it works- Each day host bloggers will introduce themselves and their work on their blogs -  the schedule is below. They will include links to more blogs in their province(s) so you can visit those blogs as well. Each hosting blogger will have a giveaway of goodies from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop. (Just wait till you see what I have chosen for you! Oooooh, you're going to love it!!) So - you'll have a chance to win every day of the week! How great is that?! And the giveaways are open to EVERYONE! Sew Sisters will ship internationally! 

Would you like to join the party? If you'd like for the host blogger from your province, territory or area to link your blog in her post, email Sew Sisters at and they will add your blog to the list. Please note, you must live in Canada, and your blog should have posts about quilting or crafting to be eligible. Linda and I will be linking to blogs in all of Atlantic Canada - NB, NS, PEI and NL.

Here is the schedule for the hosts:

Monday          Nov.17       BC                  Stacey         Stacey in Stitches
Monday          Nov.17       BC                  Jessica        Momiji Studio
Tuesday          Nov.18       Maritimes       Linda          Scrapmaster
Tuesday          Nov.18       Maritimes       Linda          Stitch Lines   (that's me!)
Wednesday     Nov.19       AB                  Kelsey        Everyday Fray
Wednesday     Nov.19       AB                  Leanne        She Can Quilt
Thursday        Nov.20       SK                  Heather       Peace. Love. Quilt
Thursday        Nov.20       MB                 Lori             Night Owl Quilting
Friday            Nov.21       QC                  Josée           The Charming Needle
Friday            Nov.21       Territories      Janet            Caribou Crossing Chronicles
Saturday        Nov.22        ON                 Lorna           Sew Fresh Quilts
Saturday        Nov.22        ON                 Sandy          Upstairs Hobby Room

So, be sure to mark Blogathon Canada on your calendar so you can visit lots of new-to-you Canadian quilting bloggers! And be sure to come back and visit me on the 18th, although I certainly hope you'll return before then!  :)


"I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship." ~ Brené Brown
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