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

Sunday, May 31, 2015

From my Bookshelf...

Fever by Mary Beth Keane is the story of  "Typhoid Mary," otherwise known as Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant in turn of the century NYC. Mary was the first known asymptomatic carrier of typhous in the US. Struggling to support herself as a cook, she worked for affluent families, labouring long hours in the kitchen for little pay, and unknowingly spreading the disease. At the time of course, medical knowledge was not what it is today. Mary had cooked for a number of families and left a trail of illness and a number of deaths in her wake before a Dr. Soper, a medical investigator, traced the typhoid outbreaks to Mary.
Mary was feisty, or perhaps I should say headstrong. She was not about to give up her love of cooking (and her livelihood!) without a fight. She would not believe that she could possibly be spreading typhoid when she had not been sick a day herself. After "running from the law" so to speak, she is eventually "caught" and is quarantined against her will and held in isolation while they "study her." I won't divulge any more of her story, but I will say it was a very compelling read. Although I'm sure the author has taken some liberties with details (this is historical fiction, after all) her description of Manhattan at the turn of the century and the conditions for poor single women is eye-opening. The poor were "dispensable" and such events as the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire make it abundantly clear that they had few rights. Mary was a victim of these times...
Fever is a very interesting read for those who love historical fiction, New York City history, or stories of strong women.
And before you go, if you haven't entered my Giveaway yet, click here to visit this post and leave a comment there...


"We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become."
~ Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ah, Sweet May...and a Giveaway

Ahhhh, late May. Is there any time of year sweeter than this? I think not. The tree foliage is lush, the lawn is spring's brightest green. The hostas are unfurling their stunning leaves and the bleeding hearts behind them arch their graceful branches and dangle rows of little pink hearts like charms from a bracelet.

The windows are wide open and the apple blossoms' sweet scent fills the room as I write this. Ollie is content to once again have "his" open window back; he sniffs the breeze a hundred times a day, chirps back at the goldfinches on the feeder ten feet away and curls up in the sun for his afternoon naps. And I'm sure he is dreaming of how he would catch the hummingbirds that zip by his window if he could only reach through that screen...

Our back lawn is littered with drifts of purple violets and I grieve their beheadings each time the hubby mows. (He tires of my plea  "Wait one more day.. I might want to take a few more photos...") Yes, I think late May through mid June is just about my favourite time of year...

We experienced a nasty little storm on Thursday afternoon, a severe thunderstorm with very heavy rains. It beat down plants, washed out newly seeded lawns, flooded streets, toppled trees and knocked out power. We had just planted our new maple tree on the front lawn the evening before, and hubby had spread topsoil, seeded and rolled the large area. Yep, all washed away. The tree is fine, the topsoil and grass seed, not so much. But it could have been worse. So we carry on. Other than putting in annuals, and planting my vegetable garden, I'm almost done the spring garden chores... and so I'm grabbing my camera more often these days ...and evenings...

I have to admit one of my favourite plants to photograph at this time of year is the bleeding heart. I cannot resist its charm. So I hope you'll indulge me these few more photos, it will soon be past its prime and I'll move on to the lilacs...

If you haven't entered my giveaway yet, scroll down to the next post and be sure to leave a comment there for your chance to win!


"The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May." ~ Edwin Way Teale

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Thousand Posts! And a Giveaway!

I have reached a milestone I thought would never happen. My previous post was my thousandth post! Wow! Who would have thought?!! I have been blogging now for over 6 years - that milestone passed unnoticed in mid February.
I think this calls for a little celebration giveaway, don't you? Since I expect it will be quite a while before I reach TWO thousand posts (if ever!) I think this giveaway should be special. I've been pondering this for a while.. what I could offer for winnings that you would be happy with... How about one of my quilted iPad (or tablet) cases? Made especially for you, in the colours of your choice, of course... It will look similar to this one... If you are the winner and you don't have an iPad or tablet or want the case, we'll have to come up with something else...

So here's the deal:
1. The giveaway will remain open for one week- until midnight (Atlantic Standard Time) June 3.
2. It is open to anyone, anywhere, but you must tell me where you live. (I'm always curious to see where my readers are!) If you are a new visitor here, you might like to read my "Grow Your Blog" post which will tell you a bit about me. You'll see the link at the very top of my sidebar.
3. You don't have to be a Follower but if you choose to follow me by Google Friend Connect, Bloglovin' or by email, that would make me very happy!!  :)   Everyone gets one entry, whether you are a follower or not.
4. You must leave a comment ON THIS POST. If you are not a blogger, or you don't have a google account, you must include your email, otherwise I cannot reach you if you win. Take note, all of you who are "No Reply Commenters".... If you don't know whether or not you are a No Reply commenter, please read this helpful post from Karen at Sew Many Ways. She outlines very clearly, step by step, how to solve the problem. And if you are on Google Plus, leave your email, as I am NOT on Google Plus, so I cannot contact you....
5. If you visit here regularly, and would like to tell me what you like best about my blog, I'd be happy to hear your comments. Go ahead, make my day! lol

That's it. Pretty simple! Spread the word! The more, the merrier. And Good Luck!


I feel lucky every day when you visit me here...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Spring. Finally.

It seems that spring is finally here. It's been a loooong time comin'... Although we've had a few lovely days here and there, overall it seems to be a cool "slow" spring. We've had a lot of very breezy days... blustery as Winnie the Pooh would say! But it seems spring IS here to stay. Finally. Trees are leafing out, spring bulbs are blooming, perennials are growing quickly and the lawn is ready to be mowed... despite the cooler temps both day and night.

I love the return of green grass, and longer evenings. The hostas are growing so fast you can practically hear them stretching up... That bed of hostas across the front of the house also contains several bleeding hearts and in the evenings, they are backlit with the setting sun. I love sitting on the "front porch" behind this bed, with my long lens for some "ethereal" photos.

I love their graceful arching branches, the little hearts hanging like treasured charms on a bracelet...

I haven't been doing a lot of photography lately. Now that warmer weather is on its way, I can't wait to be back at it...

Our apple trees will be in bloom in another day or two, so apple blossoms will no doubt be my next subject.

Tomorrow is my Ladies Choir Spring Concert. If you are local, why not join us for some sweet music! There will be tickets at the door. Start time is 3pm at St. Dunstans church, corner of Regent and Brunswick. Doors open at 2:15. We'd love to see you there.


"Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Viewer' Choice Winners...

Last night was our last guild meeting until the fall. We always finish our year off with a potluck dinner- and what a fine dinner it was! Oh my.. I think we have some of the finest cooks in the city! The tables were loaded with salads, breads, hot dishes and desserts... I think I'm gaining weight just thinking back on the meal... lol.
Wonderful as the meal was, I think the highlight of the meeting was the announcement of the Viewers' Choice winners from our recent show Symphony of Spring. Rather than having judging, we opt to do Viewers' Choice and this time there were no categories - each viewer could choose any three pieces in the show, and the three which got the greatest number of votes were given ribbons. Everyone has been (impatiently) waiting for the results of the vote... So without further ado, here are the very deserving winners...

My Flower Garden by Barb Perry got the most votes. Barb hand pieced over 5,800 hexagons and then when she had the hexie "garden" all together, it was appliquéd to the borders. I. can't. even. imagine. I think I would have given up after the second flower was together! I was so pleased that this was the top winner, it is SO deserving.  Barb has done a number of hexagon quilts, including a very tiny one which was also in the show as a decor item with one of the bird houses. (You can see it on this post.)

Barb is a cat lover so most of her quilts include a cat somewhere; she incorporated a number of little kitty faces in the hexagons, so when things were "quiet" at the show, we would go over to this quilt and see how many more cats we could find... Being the top winner, Barb was given the prestigious CQA Rosette ribbon. Congratulations Barb! Such a deserving win!

Priceless by Mary Brown was the next winner, another wonderful choice! The Boston Commons design is simple, clean and lends itself beautifully to some awesome quilting in the negative space. And that's just what Mary did. She is an exceptional hand quilter, and obviously the viewing public recognized Mary's skill. I was thrilled to learn that Mary's Priceless was a winner. Congratulations Mary!

Robert's Garden by Alice Kirkpatrick is the final winner, again a very deserving selection. Alice is another wonderful hand quilter, and as well does awesome hand appliqué. This quilt features both, plus some three dimensional appliqué. I cannot imagine the hours of work that went into this quilt... Congratulations Alice! Such a beautiful quilt!

I had fun making the ribbons. The centres were cross-stitched with a little songbird, similar to the one that was on our show poster. This was my first effort at making show ribbons and I was pleased that the recipients liked them.


"Winning is only half of it. Having fun is the other half." ~ Bum Phillips

Monday, May 18, 2015

Last Call!

Last call for tickets! The Fredericton Ladies Choir Spring Concert is this coming Sunday afternoon, May 24th at 3pm. I still have tickets but must turn them in soon so if you're interested in tickets please contact me asap. It promises to be an enjoyable hour or so of varied music, both secular and sacred including some "old favourites."


"Music expresses that which cannot be said, and on which it is impossible to be silent." ~ Victor Hugo

Friday, May 15, 2015

Another Favourite Book.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a Christmas gift, has been on my "To Read" list for a while, and the anticipation was not wasted. I thoroughly enjoyed every page; it is another of the "hard to put down" types! (You know, midnight - "Finally, I'm heading to bed and can't wait to resume reading..." 1a.m. "Just one more quick chapter." 1:30 a.m. "Well maybe just one more"... You know the type...   :) Actually the chapters are very short so that made putting it down and turning off the light that much harder. Some nights I just wish I could convince myself I don't need to sleep at all, so I could read all night. Tell me I'm not alone in this... lol
It is a beautifully written WWII story, historical fiction, one of my favourite genres. Doerr skillfully transports us to France and Germany with the storyline shifting back and forth between Marie-Laure, the blind young daughter of a master locksmith who works in a Paris museum, and a German orphan, Werner, who has a fascination for radios. He becomes quite adept at building and repairing radios and his skill earns him  a place at one of Hitler's brutal training academies for youth; before long he is involved in tracking the resistance...
When the Nazis move into Paris, Marie-Laure and her father escape to Normandy to seek refuge with
her great-uncle, a recluse who lives in the old walled section of St. Malo. Marie-Laure has no idea her father is carrying with him a treasure from the museum, a priceless diamond which has a legend of immortality...
I don't want to give away any more of this fascinating story, but no doubt you have figured out that eventually the two protaganists meet; Doerr skilfully weaves the two story threads together near the end. I hope I have told you enough to pique your interest; you won't be disappointed if you buy, beg or borrow this book. Doerr's writing is masterful, his command of the English language is admirable, the character development is wonderful, the description vivid.
5 stars from this book lover. I won't be at all surprised if this ends up being my favourite read of the year...


"Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul."
~ Joanne Harris

Monday, May 11, 2015

Catching Up

The last few weeks have been crazy busy, and blogging has had to take a backseat, but hopefully now I'll get back on track. I do have more photos from our quilt show to share, but first I'll fill you in on what's been going on here. The day after our show, Ollie had an "episode." I knew right away something was wrong. His heart rate and breathing were very rapid, his pupils dilated and when he walked his hind end seemed to be dragging a bit. Long story short, a visit to the Vet and he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a heart condition common in Maine Coon cats. He stayed with the Vet for about 8 hours before we could bring him home. Poor Ollie was not impressed. He is now on 2 heart meds for life, and not one bit happy about swallowing pills every day. He is way too smart to be fooled with pills disguised in his food...
Mark has moved out and is now in his own place. He has it pretty well furnished, all he needs is a table and chairs for his kitchen. (any of my local readers have a kitchen set you want to get rid of??) He is happy to be on his own, and I now have a guest room!
Last Thursday, my father's homestead which was right next door to us, was torn down. The house was well over 100 years old, and was certainly well past its expiry date, but even so, it's a bit emotional to see it come down. I can just vaguely remember my paternal grandmother in her kitchen, when I was just a little tyke. The next day, a smaller home behind us, which used to belong to my aunt and uncle was also taken down. The debris from both has now been hauled away, but the gaping holes remain, waiting for fill and levelling. So things look a little different around here.. We're feeling a bit "exposed"... Lots of work to be done...
All of this, plus three trips out of town, a judging trip, an out of town show and then a two day teaching gig, and my annual canvassing for the Cancer Society, has kept me busy enough. I'm trying to get some work done outdoors too, but haven't made a lot of headway yet other than uncovering and cleaning off all my perennial beds. Things are growing quickly and the few days of rain we are currently getting are helping everything green up nicely.

So, back to our show. I will be adding a photo gallery on our guild blog so you can see all the photos, but I haven't yet finished editing. Here are some more favourites. We had so many wonderful quilts, I loved them all. I could have taken 10 ballots and voted for 30 different quilts (at least!)  lol

Log Cabin has always been my favourite design. I loved what Monica W. did with this one, "Cabin in the Loft."

Setting up a show is always challenging. It's always good to have a calculator in case you need help figuring things out!!  "Calculations" was made by Sue R. as a gift for her son, an engineer.

Being a lover of blues, you can see why I loved Gwenda's "Cobblestone" quilt. Wow, it takes a lot of
"stones" for a king sized quilt....

"Lickety Split" by Deanna M. drew lots of attention. Everyone liked its pleasing colour scheme and contemporary feel.

I really liked "Scrappy Trails" by Margie Clouston. I appreciate quilts with lots of piecing- this one sure fits the bill!!  Look at all those tiny four patches!

"Intersections" by Doris M. was made for a special family friend. Batiks and blues - a winner in my books!

Diane R's "Hawaiian Wedding Rings" was another fav. with its interesting construction and stitching techniques.

Three quilt shows in three weeks...and another one coming up later this month. Can't wait!!


Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joys and sorrows, stitched with love.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Busy, busy...

When long distance friends start calling and friends are emailing to ask if everything is alright, you know you've been away from the blog for too long.... I am just fine, I'm just extremely busy, and my blog has been neglected. I just have not had time for blogging. Yes I will be posting more photos from our show; in the meantime you can see a few more on our guild blog here. I am off this afternoon on another teaching trip, and will be back Saturday night. After that I'll be back to more regular blogging, I hope, and I'll fill you in on what's been going on...


Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
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