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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spring Concert

I know, I know, you're wondering where I've been...  Well I am still alive, just very busy. Just want to remind my local readers that our Fredericton Ladies Choir Spring Concert, Stories in Song, is coming up this Sunday afternoon, June 1st. It will be held at St. Dunstans Church (corner of Brunswick and Regent) at 3p.m., with doors opening at 2:15. There are still tickets left - they can be purchased beforehand at Westminster Books, or at the door that afternoon. We have a wonderful selection of music this time, and two of the composers will be in the audience! What an honour for us! I hope to see you there!


"If music be the food of life, play on." ~ William Shakespeare

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Best Laid Plans....

You know the saying..  "The best laid plans o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley"  meaning no matter how carefully you prepare and plan for something, things can (and often do) go wrong. Well that seems to be the case here lately.
Issue #1,  camera problems. Since my fall in Prague last July when both my camera and I crashed to the cobblestones, I've been worried that the crack in the camera body would eventually be an issue. This week that worry re-surfaced when I seem to have lost all photos taken in the last few days. This would include better photos of my recently completed blue quilt before I gave it away, and all photos from our Guild closing meeting with Show and Tell and 2014 Challenge. When I went to load them to the computer on Wednesday, it said "No Images". There appeared to be nothing on the memory card. So I took a few test photos- they appeared on the camera screen, but were not "saving" to the card. And when I tried to load them to the computer, again - No Images. Great! Just great! (actually I was thinking something a little stronger than that...) So, I'm just back from visiting my go-to guy at the camera shop, with new memory card in hand. He thinks it's an issue with the card, not the camera. I hope he's right. The next few days will tell the tale. Hopefully they will be able to retrieve this week's photos from the defective card. This is my second if not third time now with a defective card. If there's a defective card in the lot, it's the one I pick, it seems...
Issue #2, my miniature quilt. I was hoping to have it finished for Tuesday night's meeting. It didn't happen. I want to add a narrow corded piping to my binding, with the use of a new-to-me tool by Susan Cleveland. To make the corded piping she suggests the use of either a grooved pintuck foot or a zipper foot. Well the 7 groove foot I have was not large enough for the cording, and the zipper foot did not get close enough to satisfy me. So it's not done yet. Thank goodness for good friends who are also Bernina owners. My friend Carole has loaned me her 3 groove and her 5 groove feet, so surely one of those two will do the trick. Stay tuned....
Issue #3, Life! Sometimes life throws you a curve ball or two. I'm juggling a lot right now, and blogging has had to take a backseat. That will likely continue for a few more weeks so just be patient with my probable sporadic posting. Some days I feel like I'm having a hard time keeping all balls in the air....

If you've hung in there to read this far, how about a yummy recipe as a reward? I'm sorry I don't have a photo (it's among those lost this week, and of course the squares are long gone), you'll just have to trust me that these squares are SO delicious - you definitely will want to add them to your "Yummy Squares" list!! (EDIT: the photos have been retrieved!) I got the recipe from my friend Anne in New Glasgow, NS so I'm calling them Anne's Squares. (She calls them Mom's Funeral Squares, as they were her Mom's go-to recipe when she had to make sweets for a funeral reception at her church.)

Anne's Squares

Base and Topping:
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1/2 cup melted butter
Mix all dry ingredients together, then add melted butter, mix well. Reserve 1/3 of crumb mixture for topping, place remaining 2/3 of mixture in greased 8"x8" pan, pat down well.

1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
grated zest of 1 lemon
Mix together- it will seem very "runny" at first but will thicken up with stirring. Spread over base, top with reserved crumbs and pat down gently. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned - no more than 25 minutes, Anne advises.

Trust me- these are SO GOOD!!!!


“Changes are inevitable and not always controllable. What can be controlled is how you manage, react to and work through the change process.”   ~ Kelly A. Morgan

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May Notecards

It's time once again for us all to gather at Vee's for another Notecard Party!! Why don't you join in the fun? You can read the guidelines here, and link up with us to share your photographic efforts...
Spring has been a long time coming, and it is still cool and wet, we are definitely behind this year. So I am dreaming of the blooms that are still to come, to herald the true arrival of spring in these parts... I know we'll be seeing all these beauties in another few weeks... Can't wait!

I think these would make nice notecards for just dropping a note to a friend, or even a Birthday or other special occasion card- especially for a nature lover! Gotta love Spring Wildflowers....


 And here is the boxtop -

Thanks for dropping by. Be sure to visit the Notecard Party here to see all the other wonderful offerings...  Thanks Vee for hosting again!


"When a flower grows wild, it can always survive. Wildflowers don't care where they grow." ~ Dolly Parton from song Wildflowers  ♫♫

Monday, May 19, 2014

Wet Weekend...

It's been a wet Sunday and Monday here. Dreary and cool and wet. Can you tell I'm not too inspired today? It seems we just have one or two nice days with some sunshine and then we're right back to cool and wet. I can't get much done outside with weather like this, I don't feel inspired to blog, or to do much of anything... sigh.... We did have nice weather on Friday and Saturday and I worked outdoors for 4-5 hours each day. My back and neck are sore, actually, so maybe it's good to have a few rainy days to get my ole body back to normal... lol

I have several friends who are away opening cottages this weekend, I suspect they aren't getting much done outside either...

I am trying to finish up my Dove in the Window miniature, the last border is on and I have almost finished the quilting. I am hoping to do something a little different with the binding, so stay tuned. Our final Guild meeting is tomorrow night, so I have a looming deadline, which is a good thing!! Do you work better under pressure? I sure do...

I quickly snapped a few "wet garden" photos yesterday, in between the rain showers. As you can see, things are pretty soggy, but the perennials are growing quickly and the grass has really "greened up" so that's a good thing. That being said, just in case you're listening, Mother Nature, we're more than ready for some sunny warm days now... Bring. It. On. The forecast for the next 7 days is grey, grey, grey. Rain, clouds, and more grey. Overnight temps are still single digit. We need some sunshine and warmth, we surely do.....

What are you up to on this long weekend? I hope it is sunny wherever you are.....


"Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature." ~ Gerard de Nerval

Thursday, May 15, 2014

She's Racing Me...

Gloria has done it again! She has raced me by completing another little Miniature. (I am still working on borders.) Here is Gloria's second Log Cabin, a different block configuration this time. Well done Gloria! You get a gold star!! Another member of the New Glasgow Guild has done a lovely writeup on my Miniatures class and the previous evening's Trunk Show and Dessert Party, and it has now been posted to their blog. Click here if you would like to read it; the text is fine, the photos are a little wonky...not sure what's going on there.. they look like they have been "posterized"...???

I do have some exciting news to share- I will be teaching a Miniatures class at this year's Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival, held in Amherst, October 14-18. My class will be on Saturday, Oct. 18. If you live in the Maritimes, put these dates on your calendar now. (It's a great way to get some more fibre in your diet! teehee) The official schedule will be announced by the end of the month and brochures should be available shortly thereafter. In the meantime, check the Fibre Arts Festival blog here for updates. The Festival website is being revamped and should be back very soon. If you are interested in registering for my class, leave me a comment, or send me an email and I'll put you on the list.

Now, back to my current Miniature. It has taken a backseat the last few days as I'm trying to get work done outside. Here is what it looks like right now- there will be one more border added - in the navy fabric. Hopefully I will get those on tonight and perhaps figure out how it will be quilted also.

When I did the Trunk Show in New Glasgow a few weeks ago, I told those gathered, that every quilt  or project has a lesson. I truly believe you learn something from each and every project- even if it's only that you don't want to do that again! That's still a valuable lesson, isn't it? Whether it's that you don't like that technique, or you could do it differently and save time or fabric, or you could have been more accurate and had better matches at your intersections, or one fabric should have been darker or lighter in value to show up better, or whatever.... every project teaches a lesson.
One lesson I have learned many times over (yes, sometimes we still need reminding!!) is not to choose sashing or border fabrics until the blocks are together. Often the one fabric you thought would be just perfect turns out not to be... I had this soft gold print that I thought would work well - the little red "figures" looked like doves to me, appropriate since this block is called Dove in the Window, don'cha think? When I laid the four finished blocks on it, it was just blahhh. Flat. I tried several other options, but nothing looked quite right. I kept thinking it's going to have to be the red, but I was afraid the red would be overpowering or too strong. I don't like looking at a quilt and the first thing you notice is the sashing. But I think the red works. I think the navy/tan contrast is strong enough to stand with the red....What do you think? Be honest!


"In the canvas of life, a flat landscape would be pretty boring. It is the valleys and the mountains that help us to appreciate the flatlands. It  is the dark that makes us appreciate the light, and the cold that makes us appreciate the warm." ~ Anne Copeland

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers out there. I hope you all are enjoying a wonderful day with your loved ones. I miss my Mum daily, I'd give anything to be able to give her a hug right now.  I shared some special memories of her here. Why is it we don't appreciate our mothers the way we should, until it is too late....


"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there."
~ Robert Browning

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May Personal Photo Challenge - Colourful!

The weeks fly by quickly and it's time again for
Donna's Personal Photo Challenge. Donna asks us to share up to three photos on a theme and this month's topic is Colourful! Well we're not seeing a great deal of colour yet here. Spring has been very slow to arrive and things are just starting to green up. Not much is blooming yet.. And you know me - the gardener in me is just dying to get out and play in the dirt. At this time of year when I hear the word "colourful", I'm thinking of garden shots...

So here is my first, taken a few years ago at Corn Hill Nursery near Sussex. I always try to visit Corn Hill in June when the roses and peonies are in bloom. This photo is "as is" out of the camera, no boosting of color, and just a touch of sharpening. Mother Nature's colouring at its finest!

This photo was taken at Bathtub Beach on Hutchinson Island, FL in January. I have cropped,  boosted the colour saturation just a bit and warmed up the temperature slightly, as well as adjusting the exposure a bit. I think it improved a ho-hum photo somewhat.

 My last choice I have chosen for its simplicity, and I love the soft colour! Taken on my kitchen counter in natural light from the window, I have altered it very little, just a slight sharpening and a slight increase in shadows and contrast.

I hope you'll drop by Donna's blog here to see other colourful images today!  Thanks Donna for another great Photo Challenge!


"Color in a picture is like enthusiasm in life." ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sneak Peek...

Good Evening! Here's a little progress
report on my latest "little" project. This block is called Dove in the Window. It's one I've always liked and I thought I'd try it as a miniature, so here's where I am at this point. All 16 little "doves" are made.. the finished size will be 1.5".

Next step is to add the sashing strips (.5" finished width)  and join the "doves" in pairs.

Then the pairs are joined into blocks with sashing and a centre square. Cute, eh? The block is 3.5", finished size. I'm trying to decide whether to introduce one more color/fabric for the sashing that joins the blocks. Decisions, decisions....

Stay tuned....


"If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way." ~ Napoleon Hill

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Quick Finish

Just as I was finishing up yesterday's post, I received an email from Gloria, who was a student in my Miniatures class last weekend in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. She sent me a photo of the Log Cabin miniature she has just finished. Isn't it great!?
I hope all readers will leave a comment below and tell Gloria what an awesome job she has done. As you can see it is about  11" square overall. I love how she has planned the placement of her fabrics - the print and the darkest brown, to give a secondary design. Well done, Gloria! (Yes I feel like a proud parent.. lol)
When I teach the Miniatures class, I give lots of tips for improving one's accuracy for precision piecing. One of the tips is to slow down - sew slowly and carefully to maintain better control. Gloria's Guild sisters chuckled at that one, as apparently Gloria is as fast as a flash - she sews quickly and finishes things quickly. She told me herself, she loves to finish up projects, and has no UFO's (that's UnFinished Objects) hanging around. I can't imagine what that would be like! haha
Thanks Gloria, for sharing your lovely new Miniature with us. Well done!!


"Do not plan for ventures before finishing what's at hand." ~ Euripides

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spring... and This and That...

Spring is springing.. slowly... Yep, we're finally getting some double digit temps- they're not high... forecast for the next few days shows highs of 11C, 12C and 14C by midweek. Woohooo! We're getting there, slowly but surely. We'll take it. Feels better than last week which still felt like early March.

I'm getting my perennial beds uncovered, in between the rainy days. Crocus and chionodoxa are blooming, and the scilla is growing rapidly and budding... can't wait for that sea of blue on my front lawn. I love those darling little blue nodding blossoms.

I've picked up a few new followers in the last few weeks - welcome all!! I hope you'll visit often and leave me a comment now and then to tell me where you're visiting from and say Hello!

I'm working on a new Miniature quilt... I think my class last weekend renewed my passion for miniatures. All the way home I thought about all the designs I want to try in a miniature format - it made the long boring drive fly by. I spent some time last Sunday flipping through all my old issues of Miniature Quilts magazine once again (I so wish that was still being published!) I knew I would get more done if I made a list (does that work for you? I love crossing things off a list, it spurs me on to get things accomplished!) I quickly came up with a list of thirteen... and I'm sure there'll be more... Some will be quite challenging, but I also need to get a few simple ones done as well, before my next scheduled Miniatures class (I'll tell you more about that exciting news soon, once it's made public...) So I started a simple "Dove in the Window" last night, and have almost half the blocks done already. You'll see it soon....

Our city library has been closed for what seems like forever for some major renovations, and I've been without a book in my hands for almost two weeks which is rare for me. I have two "on hold" which  hopefully will be available soon after the library re-opens, but I just couldn't wait any longer so two nights ago I started one that's been patiently sitting on my shelf waiting for me - Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. I LOVE his writing, but this one will take a while, at 985 pages, so you won't see the next book review for a few weeks. It's Book 1 of a trilogy and I know once I'm done Fall of Giants, I'll be chomping at the bit to read the other two..
I hope you are enjoying some R and R today, with quilting, or reading, or whatever makes you happy...


 "The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size."
~ Gertrude S. Wister

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