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

Thursday, August 25, 2016


It's time for a family update! Grandson Noah has just had his 1 month birthday! Here he is with his Mommy, doesn't he look handsome? And doesn't Mommy look great?! He has already gained over 2.5 pounds, so I guess we know there's no major problems with the breastfeeding!   :)

He is growing and getting more alert all the time. Now he just has to figure out the "nurse longer and fill my tummy so I can sleep for a longer stretch" thing... He seems to be in more of a snack and nap mode... lol  He's moved up a size in diapers, and is wearing 3 month size clothing. No more "newborn" for him!

And today is granddaughter Claire's third birthday!!  Wow! Where have three years disappeared to? She too is growing fast.. wearing size 5 clothing at age 3... We don't see her that often so see big differences with each visit, especially in her vocabulary. Wowzers! She will be meeting baby Noah in October. Can't wait to see what she thinks of him!


"The world is as many times new as there are children in our lives."
~ R. Brault

Monday, August 22, 2016

On My Bookshelf

Back in January I read my first Louise Penny mystery, Bury Your Dead, the sixth in a lengthy series (you can read that post here.) I knew long before I finished the book that I would be reading more of her work, so I set about searching for the previous five in the series. I bought the first two, Still Life and Dead Cold (titled A Fatal Grace in the USA) and finished them both within a week. The next three, The Cruellest Month, The Murder Stone (title A Rule Against Murder in the USA) and The Brutal Telling were borrowed from the library last week and I am now well into the fifth one. Each one could certainly stand on its own and be enjoyed as an individual mystery, but I have so enjoyed them as a series, getting to know the characters a little better with each successive story. The series is set in Three Pines, a quiet (fictional) village in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, south of Montreal and close to the Vermont border. The principal character is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, head of homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, an appealing and intelligent man with great listening skills and an uncanny ability to make people open up and  share their thoughts. His sidekick second in command Jean Guy Beauvoir and several other police detectives appear in each book, and form just part of the lovable cast of characters. The eccentric inhabitants of Three Pines are also "regulars" in each story... Peter and Clara Morrow the struggling artists, Olivier and Gabri, the gay couple who run the village B and B and bistro, Ruth the curmudgeonly poet who always speaks her mind (often with colourful language) and Myrna who left her career as a psychologist to run a used bookstore in Three Pines. I could never pick a favourite as they all have their own (lovable) quirky traits, but Gamache is certainly a character I'd love to meet. Penny admits the Chief Inspector is based on her husband Michael.
I'm not going to give plot summaries for each book, you can find those elsewhere if you want to. Suffice it to say murder mysteries are not my usual genre, but I am LOVING this series and each one gets better than the last. Penny makes the characters come to life, and writes so descriptively I am often salivating for the meals cooked at the bistro. I can clearly picture the town square of Three Pines, and the cozy cottage-like homes of brick and fieldstone and I'd love to book a relaxing weekend at the B and B. I cannot wait to continue reading more titles in this series.
What are you reading lately? Any recommendations?

 EDIT: Since I've had some questions in the comments, here's a little more info. Louise Penny's website can be found here. On her sidebar you'll see the 11 books of the series listed in order; her newest, #12, A Great Reckoning, comes out next week, August 30. It has already been named one of the top 10 books of  September by O Magazine. Penny was born in Toronto, and became a journalist and radio host with CBC, working in Toronto, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Quebec City and Montreal. She currently lives and writes in a small village in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, south of Montreal near the US border. This New York Times and Globe and Mail best-selling author has won five Agatha Awards, five Anthony Awards and numerous others. 
You can find recipes for some of the mouth-watering dishes described in her books here and answers to many frequently asked questions here.


That moment at 3a.m. when you whisper to yourself "I need to stop..." as you turn the page.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Family Additions...

After the addition of our grandson three weeks ago, our family has now grown by two more members!! I think we're having a growth spurt! lol The hubs and I have certainly been missing our beautiful Oliver since he passed away last November. There's not a day goes by that we don't think of him and miss his companionship. This week an opportunity arose that we couldn't pass up. A neighbour had passed away, leaving behind two beautiful long-haired cats, so we have adopted them. Well, I guess we're actually on a trial basis right now... we'll see how things go for a week or two. They are a bit traumatized and will take awhile to feel comfortable here. They are used to a much smaller space, so we
have limited them to the kitchen and family room, and basement at this point. In a few more days we'll open up the rest of the main floor, then add upstairs next week, hoping that will make it easier for them to adjust to their new home. One spent a full 18 hours hiding under our couch, but he has finally come out today a few times and seems to be feeling a bit more at home now. It'll just take some time for them to feel safe, I guess, with so many new things to sniff and explore, new sounds and voices, etc. Patience, patience...
The beautiful Miss Ginger above is about 7 years old, and Mr. Scamp, left, is around 4. These are not great photos at all but I'm sure I'll get better ones as soon as they become more comfortable in front of the camera; they are both still somewhat skittish at this point...


Cats are like music. It's foolish to try to explain their worth to those who don't appreciate them.

Monday, August 8, 2016

On My Bookshelf

I have just finished reading one of the best books ever. I plowed through its almost 800 pages quite quickly, because it was very difficult to put down. Yep, one of those. Don't start it until you can dedicate a block of time to it. A while back a friend asked me what I've been reading lately, and then she said "What's your favourite book of all time?" Now that's not an easy question to answer, and in fact at the time, I couldn't answer her. I replied "I'll ponder that and get back to you." I'm still not sure if I could pick just ONE most favourite (That's kinda like which one is your favourite child?  Impossible to answer...) but Margie, this one would certainly be in the running: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.
It's not my usual genre, and maybe that's one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much... it was something different. I guess I would call it a cross of murder mystery with suspense thriller, with the accent on the suspense thriller.. lol.
I don't want to give away too much of the story, but the two main characters are an American (codename Pilgrim) who works for an unknown covert US government agency higher than the FBI or CIA and a young terrorist from Saudi Arabia. Hayes takes us on a whirlwind journey, from New York City where the story begins with a murder, to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Paris, Syria, Gaza, and Turkey as Pilgrim races to solve a perfect crime and foil his adversary's plot to bring down the USA.

From the book jacket: "A breakneck race against time.. and an implacable enemy.
An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.
A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.
Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.
A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.
One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey. Pilgrim."

Of course, these seemingly unconnected events all eventually come together in a fast-paced, action-packed, well organized, well researched  and very cleverly written plot. The reader cannot fly through the text as there are many details to be noted. Just when you think you have something figured out, things take an unpredictable turn...  Foreshadowing is used effectively and the characters are so very well developed. Both Pilgrim and his "prey" are extremely intelligent and you keep wondering which one will outsmart the other. In short, an amazing read! Warning, there are some scenes of graphic violence.
Hayes has already had a successful career as a journalist and a movie and tv screenwriter. I Am Pilgrim is his debut novel. I can only say I hope he continues writing novels, I will be at the head of the line to purchase his next one. MGM has secured the movie rights to I Am Pilgrim. I'll be in that lineup too.


"Good books don't give up all their secrets at once." ~ Stephen King

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Baby Noah

Baby Noah has stolen my heart. I flew to Ontario last Friday and my time here has flown by. His biggest issue was figuring out the breastfeeding thing, but seems to finally have got the hang of it. He had a second appointment with an excellent Lactation Consultant this morning and has gained 10 ounces since last Thursday! Laura is relieved and happy! So all is well. Now if Mummy and Daddy could just catch up on their sleep, things would be just ducky!
I am no portrait photographer, but these are a few of my favourite photos from the last four days....

And then there were three......

Uncle Mark came to visit!

Mummy Snuggles


"Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart." ~ Winnie the Pooh

Monday, August 1, 2016

Work in Slow Progress

Here's a look at a work in progress. It may look familiar... I have made this miniature quilt (Not Quite Civil) before,  but gave it to a dear friend, so now I'm making one for me!! You can read the story on it in previous posts here and here.  I told my friend Sandi I would give the first one to her if she provided me with more of her "trimmings" so I could make another for myself. So I've been slowly chipping away at #2 and now the blocks are done, yippee! It will likely be a while before I get back to this to put it all together, but at least the blocks are done!  They will measure 2.75" once they are sewn together. 49 pieces per block. Each block takes a few hours.... I wonder, would this count for the "slow stitching" movement...?


"Some quit due to slow progress, never grasping the fact that slow progress... IS progress." ~ Rolsey
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