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

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Beef Stew...Mmmmm...

A few posts back, I talked about Comfort Foods... Well this week I succumbed to another wintertime favourite - a rich and flavourful Beef Stew. The original recipe, called "STEW-pendous Beef" is from The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podleski.
I have made a few small changes to the recipe and will give it to you as I now do it. The original was done on top of the stove, I place mine in a large casserole and in the oven at 325°F. On a cold winter night, paired up with crusty bread or rolls and a green salad.. well it just doesn't get much better! A rich "gravy", chunky vegetables and French herbs combined with tasty beef ... a yummy aroma fills the house.

Beef Stew

2 lbs. stewing beef, cut in 1"-1.5" cubes
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
2 Tblsp. olive oil
1.5 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence**
2.5 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
2 Tblsp. tomato paste
2 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 large potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, cut into chunks
2-3 large carrots, peeled and cut in small chunks
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in small chunks
6-8 large button mushrooms, cut in quarters
2 Tblsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup frozen green peas

Pat beef dry with paper towels. and sprinkle lightly all over with seasoned salt. Heat 1 Tblsp. oil in non-stick pan or large pot over medium high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring until browned on all sides. Set aside if you're doing it all on stovetop, or place in large casserole if using oven.
Reduce heat to medium and add 1 Tblsp. oil to same pot; add onions celery and garlic, cook and stir until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Return beef to pot, and add Herbes de Provence, beef broth, tomato paste, vinegar, bay leaves, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a bubbly boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, OR place all in a large covered casserole and into 325°F oven for same amount of time.
Stir in white potatoes and carrots, continue to simmer or bake for another 25 minutes. Then add sweet potatoes and mushrooms, simmer or bake for another 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Mix cornstarch with 2 Tblsp. water until smooth. Stir into stew, mix well. Continue to cook a few minutes until bubbly and thickened. Stir in peas and cook another 2-3 minutes until peas are heated through.  Remove bay leaves before serving.  Serves 5-6.

**Herbes de Provence is an herb blend that you'll likely find at the grocery store where you buy all your dried herbs. It is a combination of herbs commonly used in southern France: basil, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme and lavender.

What's your favourite comfort food?


"If they like it, it serves four. Otherwise, six." ~ Elsie Zussman

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Stepping Stones Table Runners

It's high time I showed you a few completed sewing projects (just in case you think I've been slacking.) These two runners are done from the same pattern, Stepping Stones Table Runner by midcoast cottage design. I cannot say I've been bitten by the "modern quilting" bug but I did like this pattern. It has a somewhat modern look to it, I think. It's about as modern as you'll see from this ole traditional gal. I will include these with other samples for my machine quilting classes; I think students find it helpful to see the same project quilted in different ways. I know I do; many of us struggle with how to quilt something, ie. what type of design to use. The runner at 15" x 54" is a bit too big for my kitchen table but it fits well on the dining room table.

The first one was done with a Moda charm pack called Tole Christmas.  I quilted this one with 1" cross-hatching in a 50 wt. light green Aurifil thread (colour 1231).

Although many like to quilt with a 40 wt. I often use 50 wt. when I don't want the quilting to "take over." When I want the colours/fabrics/pattern design to be the main focus, the quilting is secondary to me and this nice fine 50 wt. 2 ply is just the answer! It's there, but it's not "in your face."  Beautiful! Love my Aurifil! 

The pattern required 1 yard for the background and binding, but with some very careful planning and using more pieces from the charm pack, I pieced a section of the back and had enough for background, binding AND the backing by purchasing 1.25 yards. Whew! It was a squeaker though, almost nothing left over!

The second one was done with batiks from my stash in autumn tones of greens, golds and burgundies. The colour of the background is a soft gold, a little hard to tell in these photos. It wasn't great lighting today...

Again I pieced a section of the backing (makes it a little more interesting anyway, don'cha think?) and it was quilted with simple straight lines in a 30 wt. Sulky Blendable thread, colour 4044 - "Butterscotch." I like both runners, but I think I prefer this one. I do love me some luscious batiks....


Gather the threads of your life... and stitch them into joy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

On My Bookshelf

Bury Your Dead is the first book by Louise Penny I have read, but it won't be my last. Set in cold snowy Québec City, it is the sixth in the Three Pines mystery series. The central character, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, is unofficially "on leave" to recover from a recent case which did not end well. While visiting his mentor and former Chief in Québec City during Winter Carnival, he becomes involved in yet another mysterious murder case... in fact you might say there are three deaths "under investigation." Two are recent and one is unexplained from hundreds of years ago.
If you have never been to Québec City, you will feel as if you have once you've finished this book. Penny paints such rich descriptions of this beautiful old city, the narrow cobblestoned streets of the old walled section, lined by stone buildings, charming restaurants and cafés, brimming with Canadian culture. The city is as much a character in this story as the humans. Also ever present is the tension between English and French, with continuing strong separatist feelings among some of the population. Woven through the plot is a good deal of very interesting history - I was unaware (or had forgotten?) that the remains of  Samuel de Champlain, founder of Québec, have never been discovered, his resting place still a mystery. This figures prominently in the story. Penny has also developed her characters so very well, I feel as if I already know Gamache. He is a man of integrity and great wisdom, the type of man I would greatly respect if I knew him personally.
Photo Source: Wikipedia
I thoroughly enjoyed the inclusion of so much history in the novel; one simply cannot visit this city without being aware of the rich historical and cultural background as you stand in front of the Château Frontenac overlooking the mighty St. Lawrence River, or on the Plains of Abraham where the English and French battled to shape the destiny of this city and the entire province of Québec. History and politics have certainly left their mark on both city and its residents. There is even a current-day
walking tour available, following the steps of Gamache in Bury Your Dead. Wouldn't that be fun?
I don't want to give away any more of the plot, you'll have to trust me when I say this is a cleverly written book/series worth reading.The one thing that has stuck with me from Bury Your Dead are the four short sentences which have remained with Gamache throughout his career- he learned them from his Chief when he was a young agent, and passes them on to each of the agents now under his command: "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I need help. I don't know." All phrases that we often find difficult to say, but no doubt our lives would be made a lot easier if we could say them more often... Food for thought...
 Although I was assured I could read this as a "stand alone" rather than starting and reading the series in order, (and I did certainly enjoy it) I do want to go back now and read the previous five, in order. Do any of my local reader friends have the first one, Still Life that you'd be willing to loan me?
One thing I know for sure, I'm craving a café au lait, some fresh baked croissants and a return trip to Québec City.....


My favourite game is called "How many chapters can I read in one night?"

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Workshop Spaces Available

I am teaching a local workshop this Saturday, January 23, and there are spaces available. It is skills oriented, rather than project oriented. You can read more about it by clicking here, and if you are interested in joining us, email me or leave a comment below.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday Stitchin'

I've said more than once, I might have too many hobbies. Is there such a thing? I don't really think so, only not enough time. I know, I know, my day has the same 24 hours that everyone else has.  Perhaps I just need a maid, to do the daily meal planning, grocery shopping and meal prep, the laundry, the cleaning.... Yeah, I like the sound of that. But who am I kidding? It won't happen.
Each January, I vow to be more organized, more efficient, to waste less time so I can accomplish more. More sewing, more reading, more stitching, more photography and blogging.... I must admit since Christmas I have gone into my usual self-imposed "hibernation" not doing a whole lot other than reading, some sewing and stitching tossed with the occasional Netflix movie and an extra hour or so of sleep each night. I cannot complain.
My hands are very rarely idle. Even while watching tv, my hands are occupied, usually with stitching. (The exception is Downton Abbey when my eyes are glued to the screen.) My stitching lately has been "the usual" for this time of year - more beaded Santas.

But I do have several stitching projects I am anxious to move on to. One is a small kit from Mill Hill. I thought I'd share a few suggestions with you, which make things a bit easier when working from a kit. When a kit supplies the floss, it is up to the stitcher to separate the threads and decide what is what; often there are some colours which are very very close, and it can be difficult to distinguish one colour from another. On the pattern, the floss colours are most often listed in numerical order, rather than by colour groupings.

First of all, it is imperative to do this sorting job during the day, in good natural light. I've found artificial light in the evening just doesn't cut it. I start by laying out the ones I can easily identify -the white, black, dark brown (3371) and a few others which I have used so often I know them for sure. Then I go down the list and choose what I think each colour is, laying them out in the same numerical order. Often there will be a few which I may have wrong - the greys in particular are difficult to distinguish. This is when I get out my trusty DMC Colour Chart - an invaluable tool which I have used often.

It has a sample of each and every DMC floss, grouped by colour and labelled with the number, so it is quick and simple to identify every colour. This way you know for sure you have each one correct. If you don't have a Colour Chart, treat yourself to one. You won't regret the expense. They can usually be purchased anywhere that sells DMC. Once I have correctly identified each length of floss, if I am ready to start the stitching, I will somehow label each colour- there are many accessories on the market to aid with this - either cardboard "bobbins", or other systems to loop the thread through and label with the number. If I'm not yet ready to start stitching, I "bundle" the floss in groups of five colours, in order from the list on the pattern and knot loosely, so they are "grouped," then I can easily correctly identify and label them later.
My other suggestion is related to the number of strands used for stitching. I almost always use one strand more than what is suggested on the pattern. I like my stitching to totally cover the background, whether it is fabric or perforated paper. I just don't like the look of the background fabric showing through the stitching. This particular pattern suggests two strands, but I will use three. If it looks like the supplied floss will not be enough (since I am using an extra strand) I can always buy more. I probably have most of them in my floss box already, anyway.
Only a few more hours now 'til Downton Abbey comes on, maybe I can finish another Santa beard...


"The only place where housework comes before needlework  is in the dictionary." ~ Mary Kurtz

Friday, January 15, 2016

On My Bookshelf

I LOVE to travel. Anyone who knows me well, knows it is one of my most favourite things to do. Travel. Anywhere. I'm up for the adventure. I'll even be ready to go very early in the morning. (ok, stop sniggering, those of you who know me real well and know I'm NOT an early morning person. I can be, when a trip is involved...) Sadly, I don't travel near as much as I would like to... So when I cannot travel, literally, for whatever reason, I travel figuratively. And I've been doing that a lot in the last few weeks. Travelling. In my mind... with my head buried in books. I've been to Newfoundland  with Sweetland by Michael Crummey, Quebec City with Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, occupied Paris, 1942 with The Tiger Claw by Shauna Singh Baldwin, and now I'm in Gaborone, Botswana with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. It's a great way to travel, when you can't do "the real thing." (Much cheaper too!)
Not long ago I spent some time in both England and Thailand via The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley. From the book jacket: "As a child, concert pianist Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the grand estate where her grandfather tended exotic orchids. Years later, while struggling with overwhelming grief over the death of her husband and young child, she returns to this tranquil place. There she reunites with Kit Crawford, heir to the estate and her possible salvation.
When they discover an old diary, Julia seeks out her grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed the estate. Their search takes them back to the 1940's when Harry, a former heir of Wharton Park, married his young society bride, Olivia, on the eve of World War II. When the two lovers are cruelly separated, the impact will be felt for generations to come....."
I enjoyed this beautifully written story, set for the most part in Norfolk England on a large estate. Riley skillfully weaves together past and present, generations of  family characters, and England with WWII Bangkok and Changi prison, a Japanese POW camp. Her writing flows with almost a lyrical quality. Plot twists keep it interesting and it appeals both as a love story and as historical fiction. Who can resist the story of a wealthy family and their servants where passion flares, lies are told, secrets are kept... Hmmm... shades of  Downton Abbey?
4 out of 5 stars.


"Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are." ~ Mason Cooley

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Quilts for the Twins

It's a bright sunny (but cold) day here, much welcomed after yesterday's storm which gave us 38 cm. of fresh new snow. For those of you not familiar with the metric system, that's 15 inches. It's pretty today but yesterday was another story. All schools in the entire province were closed along with the universities and community colleges. Government, banks and malls were closed down by late morning,  city buses were taken off their routes and the RCMP were advising drivers to stay off the highway from Moncton to above Fredericton, so I took that as a sign to stay inside for the day, cozy and warm. Thank goodness there were no power outages. Winter has arrived, for sure!

I'm ignoring the white scene outside my window and taking you back to late summer to meet two little babes. My niece Alyson had fraternal twin girls in August. I promised her two baby quilts, telling her she could choose the colours; she decided on pink and soft grey, a favourite combo of mine. I gathered a number of pieces in each colour, and was happy to find a print with music on it since Alyson teaches music in the school system, to blend in with the greys.
I used two different patterns but the same fabrics in each quilt. Both were quick and easy designs - Disappearing Nine Patch and I'm not sure if the other even has a name - Cobblestones perhaps? I just think of it as "bordered squares."

Both were machine quilted with the walking foot- straight line designs- like I said, quick and easy! I loved the fabric I found for backing (same on each quilt) - little bunnies peeking out from behind the stripe! TOO CUTE!! And the stripe had just a touch of the yellow-green that was in one of the prints on the front too.. how perfect!

My photos are not great, but give you an idea of what they looked like, at least.

And here are the twins - For some reason the photographer has removed the other newborn images of their session from her website so I cannot show you more than this one.. but aren't they sweet? I think they were just over two weeks old at this point. What a darling shot! Don't they just look like the best of friends? Let's hope they're still this close when they are 15! Ha! That's Josephine on the left and Ada on the right.

I couldn't seem to manage a decent shot the day they received the quilts. Josephine didn't want to wake up and Ada wouldn't look at me...

Oh my... looking back at these photos, I can see I'm well past due for another visit...


Two little blessings sent from above,
Twice the smiles, twice the love.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Attention Google Friend Connect Followers

If you follow me with Google Friend Connect, and do not have a google account, apparently after tomorrow you might not see my blog on your list.... Blogger is making some changes.. don't ask me why.. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" I say... (Blogger are you listening???)
I hope I don't lose too many followers with this silly change. I have noticed I have already lost a few over the last few weeks... I wasn't too concerned, but after seeing this notice on several other blogs this weekend, I thought I should post some thing too... Here's what Blogger is saying:

In 2011, we announced the retirement of Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger sites. We made an exception for Blogger to give readers an easy way to follow blogs using a variety of accounts. Yet over time, we’ve seen that most people sign into Friend Connect with a Google Account. So, in an effort to streamline, in the next few weeks we’ll be making some changes that will eventually require readers to have a Google Account to sign into Friend Connect and follow blogs. 

As part of this plan, starting the week of January 11, we’ll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other OpenId providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles so you may see a decrease in your blog follower count.

We encourage you to tell affected readers (perhaps via a blog post), that if they use a non-Google Account to follow your blog, they need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow your blog. With a Google Account, they’ll get blogs added to their Reading List, making it easier for them to see the latest posts and activity of the blogs they follow.

We know how important followers are to all bloggers, but we believe this change will improve the experience for both you and your readers.

 So, if you don't have a google account, better get yourself one!!   :)  Thanks! Hope we'll continue to see each other here in Blogland...


If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies....

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Comfort Food

What is it with winter and the craving of comfort foods? Our winter has been pretty easy so far, no big major storms or deathly cold temps yet (although I'm sure that will come) but I have been craving comfort foods like crazy... Do you do that too? Surely it's not just me! It seems the only supper ideas I come up with these days are things like chili, beef stew, homemade soup, spaghetti, potato scallop and meatloaf....  I made a big batch of chicken curry a few weeks ago and there are several containers in the freezer, so that's an easy "pull out and thaw" comfort food meal... Last night I made Shepherd's Pie and served it with Caesar Salad (my yummy dressing recipe is here) and fresh warm rolls. Yummmm. I was comforted!   :)
So what are your thoughts on "comfort food?" Why do we crave it so? Is it the pleasant memory of childhood and happy family suppers around the table? Is it our wishing for some of  Mum's home-cookin'? Is it the fond memory of how good the house smelled at suppertime when we came in from being in the fresh cold winter air after skating or sliding?  What is your favourite "comfort" food?

Here's my Shepherd's Pie recipe, which came from Canadian Living magazine years ago...

Shepherd's Pie

2 lbs. potatoes
3 tblsp. vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I use more)
1 lb. medium or lean ground beef
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tblsp. tomato paste
1 tblsp. horseradish
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper
1.5 cups chopped peppers, red and green (yellow too if you want it really colourful!)
1/3 cup hot milk
2 eggs, separated
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Peel and quarter potatoes, cook in lightly salted water until tender. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in skillet, heat 2 tblsp. oil, cook onions and garlic until softened. Add mushrooms, cook for several minutes until golden. Transfer to 8 cup (2 qt.) casserole or baking dish and set aside.
In same skillet, cook beef, breaking up into small pieces, until evenly browned. Drain off fat and add meat to onion mixture.
In skillet, bring stock and tomato paste to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in mustard, horseradish, thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper to taste. Add to meat mixture, mixing well.
In clean skillet, heat remaining oil and cook peppers until tender crisp. Spread over meat mixture.
Mash potatoes. Add hot milk, egg yolks, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Beat egg whites until stiff, fold into potato mixture. Spread evenly over meat mixture.
Bake in 425° F oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 20 minutes longer, or until meat is bubbly and top golden. Makes 4-6 servings.

** I sometimes omit the horseradish if I don't have it on hand, to no detriment. Also I often add a layer of green peas (frozen, not canned) on top of the peppers... that's good too!


"Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort." ~ Norman Kolpas

Friday, January 8, 2016

A Quick and Easy Gift for Miss Claire

I think this was the first Christmas in a long time that I have not done any sewing/quilting projects for gifts. It certainly did remove a little stress from the holiday preparations!  :)  I did however make a gift for granddaughter Claire who was 2 in late August. I must admit I'm a little out of touch with who's who in the toddler world these days but I did know that Dora the Explorer is a favourite with Claire. I was lucky to find some lovely "Dora fleece" a few weeks back and matched it up with a solid purple for a fleece tie blanket. What little girl doesn't like "puhple"? Her bedroom is "puhple" and if a two year old can have a favourite colour, I'd say purple is it for Miss Claire. So Dora + purple = win/win!

It was a HUGE hit! She went nuts when she opened it! (If only every gift was received with such enthusiasm!!) It went everywhere with her while she was here for a few days just before Christmas, and of course covered her at night too. As you can see, it makes a great chair cover, when reading Dolly a story.

Have you tried making one of these? SO quick and easy! All you need are two pieces of fleece (the same size) and a pair of scissors or shears, and about an hour to an hour and a half. That's it. No sewing skills needed at all! You simply layer the two pieces of fleece, wrong sides together. Trim the edges if needed, so that the two pieces are exactly the same size. My fleece was 60" wide, so I bought 60" of length and I trimmed off roughly an inch all around. (This gets rid of any selvage or curly/wobbly edges.)

Enjoying a new book - see previous post

Next you cut a 4" square out of each corner, cutting through both layers. Then simply make slash cuts, about an inch apart and in 4" all around the entire blanket, again cutting through both layers. To finish you simply tie each pair of "slashes" together. That's it! Easy peasy! I confess, I used my rotary cutter and mat rather than shears. This kept all my cuts straight and even. This was a first for me, but what a fast simple gift for a little (or big!) person. I'm sorry, I never thought to take photos during the process, but it's pretty simple. If you want to make one and have any questions, just leave me a comment and I'll answer.

Just a few days after Christmas my great-niece Mallory called and asked if I knew how to make a fleece tie blanket and if so would I help her make one? "Why yes, I do!" I replied. haha
Her Mom had received one for Christmas so Mallory decided she'd like one too. So off we went to Fabricville to choose some fleece, came home and zip, zip, it was done! We both did some cutting and tieing and it was done in no time! What fun! And two special girls now have cozy blankets. I think Martha would say "That's a good thing..."


"May no gift be too small to give, nor too simple to receive, which is wrapped in thoughtfulness and tied with love." ~ L. O. Baird

Thursday, January 7, 2016

On My Bookshelf

Books - one can never have too many. That has always been my philosophy!  I learned to love reading as a child, and when I wanted a new book, I don't remember that I ever once heard "no you cannot have it." Lucky for me, my mother was an avid reader who understood and shared my thirst for books. She taught me how to use a library and before long I didn't care whether I owned or borrowed the book, as long as I had something new to read. I was a "regular" at both the school  and public libraries.
Finished and waiting  to be reviewed
When my children were little, I continued the same philosophy. They had far more books than toys, in fact I rarely bought them toys (Lego excepted), but I could never resist buying them books. And the result was that they both were strong readers and top students, and continue to love reading today. I will continue the same strategy with grandchildren.
I saw the following quote not long ago (on Pinterest, I think?) and it is so very true: "There is no app to replace your lap. Read to your child!"  I feel so sorry for the many children who grow up today addicted to tv and all the latest tech gadgets but never learn to love reading. What a shame, they are missing so much.
When I started this blog (almost 7 years ago now!) I began keeping a list of books read. I can hardly believe how long that list has grown. I have thought, more than once, that I should remove it and "start over" but I have a number of readers who have told me they love checking that list for various reasons: to see if I've read a certain book, to get ideas/suggestions, etc. So I have kept it there, and it continues to grow. I would prefer it to be in order by date read rather than alphabetical, but that's the way Blogger does it. Many times I have wished I had started this list many years ago. If I had started it at age 20, how very long it would be now!
Just a few on my "Can't Wait to Read." stack
As well as the list of books already read, I keep an ever-growing list of books I want to read. I think I'll have to give up some other hobbies, and live to be at least 140 to get everything read! Do you keep a list? Where do you get ideas for new books to read? I have a number of friends who are avid readers, so we share suggestions with each other, and Amazon kindly sends me frequent suggestions too. Some of my readers send me their recommendations - thank you! All suggestions welcomed! Pinterest is another source, of course. I recently saw a pin by someone listing what she felt were her 10 top or favourite historical fiction reads... and  I had read 7 of them, so I guess we are on the same wavelength. :)   I'll post her list with a few more additions of my own in a not too distant future post.
So, what are your book habits? Do you keep lists? Do you have any recommendations for me? Do tell.


There is no such thing as too many books, there is only not enough shelves.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2015 Re-cap continued...

Continuing with my re-cap of 2015 highlights with some favourite photos and mosaics....

July saw me off on a few short trips within the province. When my friend Karen H was in town for a few days we decided we really should try to get up to some mischief together (ha! I'll never tell...) so we agreed on a jaunt to St. Andrews. After a lovely lunch and a walk about the town (so many lovely shops to poke around in!) we headed to Kingsbrae Gardens. Here is the mosaic I did of some of the lovely blooms we enjoyed there...

My next adventure was to Grand Manan Island, a little gem in the Bay of Fundy. I taught a class while there for a group of Maine quilters who hold a retreat each summer on Grand Manan; we were joined by some of the local quilters as well. What a fun-filled day we had. I spent much of my spare time exploring the island with camera in hand as it had been a number of years since I'd visited. It really is a photographer's paradise and I hope to return soon.

August is the month I enjoy the fruits of my labours as we "eat from the garden" as much as possible. With visits to the Saturday morning farmer's market to supplement my own crops, who can resist the fresh veggies, the mouth-watering sweet corn, the berries (what a bumper crop we had this year - 51 quarts!!) and the first crunchy sweet apples. Ahhh, my mouth is watering just recalling all that yummy goodness...

August also saw my great-niece Mallory and I off to Dorchester NB to see the spectacle of thousands of migrating sandpipers. What a day that was! It truly is something you have to personally experience, to appreciate. You can check out those two posts here and here.

The fall was very busy. Quilt shows, teaching and taking classes, and other commitments sometimes kept me from touching my camera for days or weeks at a time, so my blogging time really suffered.... Autumn seemed to pass much too quickly.....

In early November we lost our beautiful Oliver. He was such a sweet boy and I continue to miss him each and every day. He was my constant companion and there is still a huge void in our home, but the good news is there will be another Maine Coon cat in our future... more on that later...   I know Ollie would approve....   ^..^

And now winter is once again upon us. As the snow blankets our outdoor world, things seem quieter, calmer, at rest. I look forward to a stack of great reading, some new sewing projects, and a return to more regular blogging. I have lots to share with you in the coming days. I hope you will continue to follow along with me on this crazy journey called life.


"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year and a Recap

Happy New Year to all my friends, near and far. It doesn't seem possible that 2015 is gone, although I'm not sorry to say goodbye. Nor does it seem real that Christmas is over and I haven't blogged in a week. Looking back, this hasn't been the best blogging year for me; it really took a backseat to other activities and commitments. I hope to do better in 2016. I trust you'll be patient... and understanding, and continue to stop by for regular visits. And, oh yes, you could leave me a comment now and again - that's always great encouragement.   :)
Do you make New Years resolutions? I gave up on those quite a while back. I do set some personal goals, and try to be a better person each year. But resolutions? Nope. Not going to happen, folks. (So consider yourself off the hook from confessing your resolutions to me, too.  Thanks. I knew you'd like that.)
Photo Credit: Sandra MacMillan

I thought I'd do something for this first post of the year, that I've not done before: a re-cap of the last 12 months by looking back at some favourite photos. I hope you'll enjoy them. I had fun looking back over my 2015 posts and choosing some photos and collages to share with you again.

January found me in south Florida for 11 days of pure bliss - sunshine, blue skies and sunsets, quilt shows, shopping, great food and even better company.  Sigh.... I literally took hundreds of photos, between the World Quilt Show, the vegetation in bloom and the Lion Country Safari. Here are just a few favourites...

(You can review all the posts and see all my photos by clicking on Florida 2015 on my sidebar under "Looking for Something?" )

February was a brutal month with storm after storm. Not many opportunities for photography except for snow, snow and more snow. It seemed never-ending. I sure hope this winter is a little easier on us.

No matter what he says, my hubby truly does love "playing" with his snowblower.....    :)

In March we were still buried under feet of snow, and having more blizzards, and I was yearning to see green. Alas the only green I could find was in my photo archives so I posted a nice green collage for St. Patty's Day...

It was a good month to concentrate on some good reading and sewing projects. I seemed to be "on a roll" with iPad cases. Here are two of them..

April finally saw our snow melt away although the green was slow to show until May. I really didn't take much notice though, as I was totally wrapped up in our guild's quilt show, Symphony of Spring. What an impressive collection of work by such a talented group! This is just a very small sampling...

Spring finally showed her awesome array of green and other colours in May. She was most welcome!

June brought apple blossoms, a new driveway, a celebration of my 1000th post and lots more spring beauty in the garden... June is definitely one of my favourite months...

I hope you are enjoying my photography, but I think this is getting rather long, so I will continue the review of the remainder of the year in the next post. Until then...


So much of what you are is where you've been....

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