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

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Waiting On My Bookshelf

One of the most anticipated, and very best, parts of Christmas for me, is the anticipation of new reading material. For as long as I can remember (and that's a very long time) books have been high on my Wish List. As you know I love to read. I always have a considerably long list of books I'm looking forward to. Many have been recommended by friends, some recommended by my good friend Amazon, some are the result of reviews I've read, etc. But there is ALWAYS a list. I don't think I'll live long enough to ever reach the end of said list...
Several friends and I exchange books as gifts, and my children know if they are ever stuck for a gift idea a gift card for a bookstore is always a good choice. Although hubby does not read as much as I, he does enjoy a book or two for winter reading so I often choose one for him that I'd like to read too. (Sneaky, yes I know!)
This year, I even picked up a few secondhand books at Value Village just to be sure I have lots of choices on hand. (wink) Because a full donation card afforded me a 30% discount plus I had a "Free Book" card as well, I figured what better time to check out their fiction section and I did find a few to bring home... The Red Tent, The Deep End of the Ocean and  The Hatbox Letters. (Anyone read any of these? Your thoughts?)  New York was my freebie; I've read it before, but want to enjoy it again. (Love love love Rutherford's writing!) The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a loaner from a friend, Truth and Honour is hubby's new read, and Victoria was a gift. So, I'd say I'm good for a while... aaaand I have a few Indigo gift cards when I finish these... Now, which shall I start first?
Did you get any new books for Christmas?


"Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and in all the nooks" ~ Dr. Seuss

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all my readers a joyous Christmas! I do appreciate your visits and comments here, and hope you will continue to stop by Stitch Lines. I hope each and every one of you enjoy the warmth of family and friends making beautiful moments and memories, happiness in your home and joy in your heart throughout the coming year!
May the Christmas magic never end!

Peace and Love,

Christmas is not so much about opening presents, as opening our hearts!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Today's chuckle...


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

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Reindeer Snacks

There's nothing like a quick and easy "special" snack that children can help prepare. They feel they have contributed by helping, and it's more fun to eat when you've helped make it yourself! This one fills the bill! The ingredients are simple and you won't have a big shopping list as you probably will have most of the items on hand.

What you need:
Graham crackers  (saltines or any square cracker would also work)
Smooth peanut butter
Chocolate chips
Red and/or brown M and M's (Smarties would work too)
Small twisted pretzels

Directions: Spread peanut butter smoothly on the cracker. Make a face with chocolate chip eyes and an M and M nose. Add two pretzels for the antlers and he's done and ready to eat!
We like to do lots of red noses, but I suppose you could do Dasher and Dancer and all the other reindeer with brown noses and just have one Rudolph red nose too... or you could do a whole herd of Christmas reindeer with red and green noses! Have fun!

And speaking of reindeer, have you ever made magic reindeer food to put out on Christmas eve? Mix up 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Add 1/4 cup red and green sugar crystals (used for cake decorating) or 1/4 cup red and green sprinkles. (You may find similar recipes online that suggest adding craft glitter but glitter could be harmful to birds and wildlife if ingested, so the sprinkles or sugar crystals are a safer bet.) Package up in small ziploc bags and add a label with this poem:

Magic Reindeer Food

Sprinkle on the lawn at night
The moon will make it sparkle bright!
As Santa's reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home! 

This is popular with the little ones... a quick and easy gift and a fun activity for excited little ones on Christmas Eve when they are anticipating Santa's arrival.


The light in a child's eyes is all it takes to make Christmas a magical time of the year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas progress...

It's another cold day here in frosty N.B. so a good day to get some things done in the kitchen. The Christmas Pudding is steaming, and I think I'll do the shortbreads and cinnamon stick shortbreads this afternoon. Although there is still wrapping to do, and our tree is not up yet (!!) I am making good progress. The tree will likely go up tonight, and the wrapping doesn't take me long. As of last night, sewing projects are finished with the exception of a small one for Noah which I have a few days after Christmas to finish. My shopping is done, except for a few gift cards. Woohoo!
Here's another small gift idea I can show, I'm pretty sure the recipient, 3 year old Claire, does not check my blog... Since she likes to help Daddy in the kitchen, (that's her helping stir up banana bread, above)  I made her an apron. Actually I made her two, one for Daddy's house and one for Mummy's house too. Quick and easy with double fold bias binding to finish edges and form the ties and neck band, it's something you could whip up in an hour if you need a little something for a little person... For size reference, this one is roughly 15" wide by 20" long.  It's not always easy to find appropriate fabric in your local area, but I thought this print was fine for a little girl. Are you doing any last minute sewing projects?
If you come back tomorrow I'll show you the quick and easy (not to mention sooo cute!) snack idea for children that Claire and I will be making when she visits next week.


"Be merry all, be merry all,
With holly dress the festive hall,
Prepare the song, the feast, the ball,
To welcome merry Christmas."
~ William Spencer

Friday, December 16, 2016

All Dressed for Christmas

Now that they have been received and opened, I can show you one small sewing project/Christmas gift.
Laura wanted some bandana bibs (for drool bibs) for Noah. So I made a few Christmas ones so he would be "dressed for the season." There may or may not be more under the tree for him on Christmas day... not sayin'.  These were a hit with his Mommy, at least. One has Santas, the other has penguins all dressed in Christmas finery. Noah is modelling the red Santa one here.

Here is Noah with his "girlfriend," Charley Rose. Aren't they just two little sweetie pies? Charley is just a few days older than Noah.

Since her parents love "country", and I just happened to have fabric with cowboy boots on it, I figured Charley should have a bandana bib made from the boots fabric. (Her Daddy always wears cowboy boots, even had them on in the delivery room, so I'm told...) Here's Charley modelling her new bib... She looks like she's all ready for the hoe-down!

Here's a closer look at the bibs...they fasten with snaps in the back. Thanks to my friend Kathryn of Made by this Momma for adding the snaps for me.


"Christmas,my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas."
~ Dale Evans

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Where's my List?

Are you a list maker? I am, always have been. At this time of year, I'm lost without a list. With so many extra things to accomplish, I make a daily To Do list, sometimes several.... At the end of the day, I'm jotting down things for tomorrow's list.. errands to run, shopping to be done, grocery items needed  and so on. Before I go out I actually plan my route and list my "stops" in the most efficient order so I'm not backtracking. Am I a little anal? Maybe. But it works for me. It gives me great satisfaction to cross items off that list too...
One of this week's important lists was the Christmas card list. I'm so happy to say all my cards and letters to be mailed are done. I still have some to send by email. It always feels like a huge accomplishment when this job is done, do you feel the same?
We've received fewer cards the last few years, I guess the high postage is discouraging many from this tradition. I love hearing from friends at this time of year, especially if we are not in touch throughout the year. But I have to admit, I've cut some people from my list... If I haven't heard from them for three or four years, then they're gone. Are you doing the same? Are you receiving fewer cards this year?
It's such a treat to open the mailbox and find a card or two...


"What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp." ~Unknown

Sunday, December 11, 2016

An Afternoon of Music

Today was our Ladies Choir Christmas concert. This choir was formed in 2008, so this was our ninth Christmas concert. (We're older than I thought, I would have said our eighth!) Our numbers are down a bit this year for various reasons, we  are currently about 75 members. I can't tell you what a thrill it is to sing with this group of talented dedicated ladies. I'm sure all choir members would agree that we enjoy the concert just as much as the audience does, maybe even more! Our director Peter Steeves and accompaniest Julie Maston go above and beyond to make us the best we can be. We owe them such huge thanks!!
Here are a few photos from today. Thanks and photo credits to Larry Dickinson and  Steve Rogers of My New Brunswick who stopped in to take some random shots while we were warming up. (You can see a few more photos on their site.) If you are a local reader, you may see a face or two here that you recognize...
Yep! That's us!

Peter with the Sopranos

Second Sopranos

Altos with Julie who sadly got cut in half! Sorry Julie!

Do we sound better from the side?
I cherish my time with this group of ladies each week, they are not only good friends, they are family. Music is good for the soul and the mind.. and the heart! Thanks ladies!  🎶


"The true beauty of music is that it connects people. It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers." ~ Roy Ayers

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Busy and Busier

This time of year always seems to be exceptionally busy. After all the outdoor fall work and a few weeks hiatus in November, things seem to swing into "full speed ahead" with Christmas looming. As you can guess from my rather spotty presence here lately, I've been busy just simply "getting stuff done." Find a new Doctor. Check. Annual checkup. Check. Mammogram and bloodwork booked. Check. Vet appointments and vaccinations for the kitties. Check. Register "change of ownership" for both kitties with the companies they are chipped to. Check. Start Christmas shopping. Check. Pack and send Christmas box for Laura and family. Check. Sort, box and deliver unused Christmas decor to Value Village. Check. Decorating done except for family room tree. Check.... On and on it goes. I have done some sewing, but as it is all for Christmas, I cannot show you yet. (You will see it eventually, I promise.) Next big job is the Christmas letter and cards - that's #1 on my to do list for the next few days.

Meanwhile, I've been doing some stitching in the evenings. The current project is also a gift so you won't see it until after the 25th, but here is a small one I finished a few days ago. I started it last year (or was it the year before?) got it about 95% finished, then set it aside. So it didn't take more than an hour or so to finish up, attach the tiny buttons, and deliver it to the framer. I took it in on Sunday afternoon and had it back on Monday! How's that for great service! It's a Lizzie Kate design, #Q07 in the Quick-it series. I enjoy working her designs, they are always well charted and easy to follow. (I have done this one before so you may remember it, gave it to a friend.) Here's another LK Christmas one I did a few years back - so cute!

Through late October and into November I was working on a Hallowe'en piece; seems silly to be showing it to you now, with Hallowe'en long past, but here's my progress so far, roughly half done. It was a Mystery Sampler a few years ago, done in three parts, also by Lizzie Kate. It'll be put aside now, as I have a few small winter pieces I want to do, but hopefully you'll see it next fall all finished and framed.

What's keeping you busy these days? Are you doing any Christmas stitching?


'Tis the season to be jolly....

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On My Bookshelf

It's been a while since I've done a book review, and I'm more than a few behind. I finished this book recently, in between two Louise Penny books. Cane River by Lalita Tademy is an Oprah's Book Club pick. I often find many of Oprah's choices quite "dark" but not so with this one. It is a well written family saga of four generations of women, all born as slaves, somewhat reminiscent of Arthur Haley's Roots. Although a work of fiction, the characters are real. Tademy left the corporate world as a vice president with Sun Microsystems to research her genealogy and write this novel based on her ancestors on a Creole plantation on the banks of the Cane River in Louisiana. Here, Elisabeth, Suzette, Philomene and Emily (Tademy's great grandmother) endured a difficult and often brutal existence at the hands of their white masters. Tademy combines meticulous historical "reconstruction" with wonderful storytelling to bring their lives to life on the page, stories which were not always pleasant. These four women of great strength and perseverance were each determined to see the next generation do better, always with the hope and dream of freedom. The addition of actual photos of her ancestors and legal documents enhance the story. 4.5 stars out of 5 from this bookworm.


"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." ~ James Bryce

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