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

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Miniature Finish

A small finish for you today! I finally have completed "Not Quite Civil II." It took me a few days longer than I expected, because last Monday I got a fairly deep cut on the thumb of my right hand (my own carelessness, cut it on the lid of a tin can - OUCH!!) My thumb was so sore I could not hold a needle to hand stitch until last night, so have just finally finished the binding today.
If this looks familiar, it's because it's a repeat of one I made in 2014 but no longer own; thus the "II" in the title. It is made totally from scraps, except for the binding. Even the backing (a neutral tan colour) was a leftover small piece from backing a large quilt. You can read the story on the first Not Quite Civil here and here - where the fabrics came from and how it got its name. The first Not Quite Civil now lives in Stuart Florida.

The block is the traditional Pineapple block and has 49 pieces per block. So this quilt, at just a hair over 8.5" square has 445 pieces in total. Each block is 2.75" and each "log" is less than 1/4" wide. At right, my rotary cutter gives you some idea of the scale. The blocks were foundation pieced and it is machine quilted.  Log Cabin has always been my favourite quilt block, and the Pineapple which is a Log Cabin variation, is a close second. I am teaching several Miniatures classes this spring so am hoping to get a few more new ones done before then.
Have you ever tried making a miniature quilt?


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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On My Bookshelf

Just a short review today. Anyone who enjoys reading and especially those who appreciate small independent bookstores would enjoy  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. It is the story of a bookseller who owns a small bookstore on Alice Island, not far from Hyannis MA. He is a young grieving widower having lost his wife, the love of his life, in a tragic car accident. He's lonely, somewhat cranky and seems to have lost interest in life. Book sales are poor, and his most valuable book has been stolen. What else can possibly go wrong?
One evening when he goes out for a run, he leaves the store unlocked.... and the result changes his life. I won't give away any more than that. You'll have to read it to find out what happens.    :)
Two of my favourite quotes from the book:
"No Man is an Island; Every Book is a World" from the sign on A.J.'s store, Island Books.
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." So very true!
It is a charming, well written story. Heartwarming. A light read, and a joy to read. There is humour, love and unexpected relationships. It's a book for book lovers. What more can I say?


Between the pages of a book is a lovely place to be.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Amaryllis Beauty

How lucky we were to enjoy the incredible blooms of this amaryllis in early January. It missed Christmas by two weeks but we didn't care.

This bulb was purchased in the fall of  2015, so this was its second blooming. It is called "Flamenco Queen" and this time there was just a single stalk with four blossoms (last year it had three stalks and twelve blooms!) but it reached a great height, 35.5" from top of bulb to tip of bloom! Watching the buds open is great fun.

 What a beauty, and how perfect for the Christmas season with its rich deep red speckled petals and bright green throat. I so enjoy my amaryllis "collection" especially in the dead of winter as my perennial gardens slumber through the cold winter months.
I have four other bulbs "resting".... I must check them today to see if there are any signs of new shoots sprouting. More fresh blooms in February would be nice, wouldn't it?

Have you ever had an amaryllis?

I am linking to Mosaic Monday at Normandy Life. Be sure to stop by to check out the other mosaics.


"Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul."  ~ Luther Burbank

Sunday, January 22, 2017

On My Bookshelf

Are you getting tired of hearing me profess my love for Louise Penny and her writing? I finished the tenth and eleventh books in her series, The Long Way Home and The Nature of the Beast shortly before Christmas, so all that I have left now is her latest, The Great Reckoning. I am taking a break and reading some others on my long list before I get to this one.
The Long Way Home leaves Three Pines for Toronto, Paris, Scotland and finally a remote stretch of  the St. Lawrence River where the search is on for Clara's missing husband, artist Peter Morrow. I found the plotline in this one a little weak, it didn't hold my interest as strongly as some of the others did... regardless, still worth the read. Although Gamache has now retired from active duty and has moved to Three Pines to enjoy a quieter life, he obviously has not fully given up his "former life and love" and is willing to help out Beauvoir and the others solve the mysterious disappearance. Penny obviously has a great understanding of the art world, as she conveys how art is created and how various people react to it. (I am still contemplating the upside down photo on the cover..,am I missing something?)
The Nature of the Beast returns to Three Pines where there is a dark cloud of evil lurking. In fact this is likely the "darkest" story in the series, with not only the murder of a child but what seems to be a serial killer, not to mention draft dodgers and war criminals, arms dealers and government corruption. I was surprised to learn at the end that the character Gerald Bull (an engineer who developed long range artillery) and "the beast" were real. I don't want to give away too much of this superbly crafted storyline, suffice it to say this is likely some of Penny's best writing. This story will no doubt lead you to reading further on the My Lai massacre (South Vietnam, 1968) as it did me, for I was too young at the time to understand much of what was happening with the Vietnam war.
photo from book jacket
There's not much that I haven't already said (in previous posts here, here and here) about Ms. Penny and her wonderful writing, other than I wish I had discovered her earlier. Not that several friends hadn't recommended her, yes, more than once! The only advice I can give if you are "new" to this series (and you've heard me say this previously) is to start with the first book. Don't diminish your reading pleasure by jumping in anywhere, even though each is fine as a "stand alone" read. The characterizations of  Gamache and his Sûreté staff, and the residents of the idyllic village of Three Pines build from book one. Each novel adds to the detailed personalities and I'm sure I'm not the only Penny fan to feel that I know these characters as well as many of my own friends. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this series and look forward to returning to it in the future to read The Great Reckoning.


The worst part about finishing a book is having to find another that is just as good or better than the last.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bandana Bibs for Noah

"Why so serious, little man?"
This is my final post of  "Christmas gift sewing that I can now show..."   (I know, I know! It's mid January, for heaven's sake! Get ON with it, Linda!!)   Here's my sweet little Noah modelling three of his new bandana bibs. They were quick and easy to make, and who knows, he may get a few more. We think he is teething now although there is nothing "visible" yet, but he sure is drooling and chewing on his hands and fingers a lot. So if these bibs help to absorb some of the drool, they're a "good thing" as Martha would say!  :)

"Oh, did you want me to smile?"

"That's much better!"

Next up, book reviews. I have finished putting another miniature quilt together, so you'll see it shortly, once it's layered, quilted and bound,which shouldn't take long. Y'all come back now!


"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth loving for. "  ~Author Unknown

Monday, January 16, 2017

Another Small Finish

Stitch Lines. That's the title of my blog.. You're likely thinking "there hasn't been much stitching shown  lately..." and you'd be right! But I'll remedy that today. And I am just finishing up another miniature quilt so you'll see that soon too.

To continue "wrapping up" Christmas 2016, here is a small finish, a cross stitch birth sampler I did for Noah's room. I should have had it done to give to them when they visited in October  but it just didn't happen. It now hangs on his wall.   :)
I purchased a cross stitch pattern, Snips and Snails by Sue Hillis Designs but just took a few elements from it (the boat and the lettering) and designed my own piece.

Because Laura did his nursery (which you can get a peek at in this post) in blues and teals, I chose similar colours for the waves and the lettering. Then I moved to primary colours for the boats, the reason being that I will be doing

another quilt and this is the backing fabric. (Those of you who did the 2015 Row by Row quilting challenge will recognize it...) The quilt blocks will be sailboats.. gotta continue the "Maritime roots" theme!! The design is still perking in my head. I won't have a complete pattern, but will make it up as I go along. Stay tuned.

Noah's middle name Osmond is after my father. How I wish he were here to get to know his great grandson. He would be so very proud of this little guy! I never dreamed that Laura would choose her grandfather's name and it warmed my heart and I'll admit, it brought a tear or two. Laura is so much like her grandfather in many ways, but because she was only two when he died, she does not remember him. So this is special.... very special.


Family. A link to the past, a bridge to our future.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Wrap Up

It seems each year after Christmas, I go "flat" for a few weeks, getting caught up on much needed rest and not doing too much other than reading and quiet activities. This year that "few weeks" was later than usual, since the kids didn't leave until the 4th. So I guess it's high time I got myself back into a routine with more regular blogging among other things.
First up is a "wrap up" of Christmas 2016. Watching your own children interact as adults is one thing, but then when there are grandkids, that's another whole thing! It's true what they say... Christmas is more fun with little ones around! Watching Claire and Noah interact was fun... Noah was quite taken with another "little person" closer to his own size.

Of course Noah was more interested in the gift bags and tissue paper than the gifts... everything had to be tasted! That also applied to his new hand puppet, a puppy which I named Mr. Woof. Straight to his mouth....

That's my brother, great Uncle Leigh holding Noah. Leigh loves kids and could hardly wait to see Noah. (Laura had just opened her new winter hat... she wanted one with a big pompom like Noah's...  I think she liked it!  :)

Books always are a big part of Christmas in our house so there was lots of story-reading at bedtime and otherwise. There will always be lots of new books at Christmas time as long as I'm living! There's no better gift for children, as far as I'm concerned.

It had only been about ten weeks since we'd seen Noah, but when you're an infant, ten weeks is a loonnggg time. He seemed so much bigger (well he IS bigger of course!) and could do so much more.

When they first arrived, he was just getting the hang of balancing/sitting up on his own; by the end of a week, he had it mastered. He also discovered his toes and how to get them in his mouth.. SO many new skills! Lol

He was out for a few rides in our old sleigh style sled. I know I pulled Mark and Laura in this and I'm quite sure that I rode in it as an infant as well. So it's real old! But it did the trick; a quilt stuffed around him kept him upright and warm.

Yep, he's a cutiepie! Don'cha love that snuggly snowsuit and the pompom hat?! We had such fun! The week flew by waaay too quickly. The house sure seems quiet now.....

If you read my previous post, Claire did finally wear her new apron, here she is helping Mummy make chocolate chip cookies. (She told me they were "hard to stir...")


A child has a special way of adding joy to every day.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Yes, I realize I'm an entire week late. Better late than never, I say.  I hope you all ushered in 2017 in grand style and are ready for what stretches ahead - new goals, resolutions, projects and plans - whatever makes you excited for the new year. I wish each and every one of you a new year full of good health and happiness, peace and hope, success and prosperity.

The future lies before you
like a field of fallen snow,
Be careful how you tread on it
for every step will show.

We seem to be in "delayed mode" here lately... Our Christmas Day was very quiet and low key, with only Mark here with us and the kitties, but things ramped up a few days later when the rest of the gang arrived, Ian with 3 year old Claire, Laura with 5 month old Noah, and Mark's girlfriend Maggie. So that's why I've been absent from blogland, I've been enjoying time with my family, and a wonderful time it was! We ate too much turkey and other goodies, played with new toys and read new books, laughed at kids' and kitties' antics, and simply enjoyed time together and the many friends and family who stopped by. Mark, Laura and Noah left just a few days ago on the same flight and since then I've been putting away all things Christmas, and trying to get the house back in order. I'm nearly done and am looking forward to some quality studio time and that stack of books that's awaiting my attention. The leftovers are gone, but there's lots of turkey soup in the freezer. I do love homemade soup on a cold winter night.

I still have many photos to edit from the last few weeks, meanwhile here's a few that I can share. Mark and Maggie are showing off their new aprons. (Finding suitable fabric for a young man's apron is not easy... since they both like wine I ended up with wine corks for Mark and grapes for Maggie whose favourite colour is purple.) Claire liked her new aprons, and we had fun making the reindeer snacks (notice she is not wearing
her apron, telling me "No, it's for Daddy's house!")


"And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been." ~Rainer Maria Rilke
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