Sunday, December 30, 2007


A couple of friends have asked for my oatmeal brown bread recipe - so here goes: BTW today breadmaking is just not in the cards so i have had to rely on stock photo - will take a picture of my next oatmeal bread effort and replace it, I promise. Meanwhile - thanks to http:/

Directions: put one cup of quick oats(not instant, just quick) in a large bowl with about one eighth to a quarter cup of butter - oil simply will not do it - and some salt if you use it. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and pour over the oats and stir.
Meanwhile turn the oven to 350 or so and then add about a quarter cup or more to taste of dark molasses to the oat mixture. Allow to cool a little, while putting a teaspoon of sugar and a quarter teaspoon of powdered ginger in about a half cup of warm water - sprinkle an envelope of yeast over top and wait for it to become foamy, stir down and add to the cooled oatmeal mixture.
Then add by halfcup increments bread flour stirring until the mixture gets hard to beat - put about a cup of flour on your board and flour the top of the mixture you turnout onto the board - flour your hands too and keep working in and kneading, punch down with knuckles away from you, fold the dough add more flour, turn it around and on and on, until it feels very elastic and stiffer. Oil a bowl, put the dough in and turn it to cover with oil - set it on your stove top, and cover it with a clean dry teatowel. When it has doubled in size, punch it down and either make two freeform loaves out of it on a baking sheet or put in greased pans and again cover and let double
Place in oven at 350 to 375 and bake until browned and when you knock on the loaf it sounds somewhat hollow. Pull apart, butter and devour!
TO GO WITH: Homemade pea soup - put half a package of either green or yellow split peas in about 7 or 8 cups of cold water after having sorted through for impurities. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and add seasonings including pepper, garlic, onions and savory. Chop carrots or dice, add either a ham bone and leftover ham or a slice or two of toupie ham and a teaspoon of bacon fat. Optional - diced potato and/or dumplings. This soup is far better the second day,warmed over.


Several comments have been left by nice bloggers interested in having a tutorial in how to construct this quilt and I would love to do a tutorial for you all if there is enough interest - so if you would get any others that you know to make a comment requesting this I will go ahead and set one up - comments can also be left on my other blog on my quilt studio site:
Originally this quilt was made as a custom order for a young couple expecting their first child. At the same time I made a second one which was raffled off at the small independent school my grandchildren attended. Fun to make, and definitely not rocket science; in the tutorial there will be lots of room for your own creativity to shine!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


A friend on the(much milder)West Coast of Canada just emailed me and hoped that I was snug as a bug as we have a severe weather warning out. It has already been snowing for a couple of hours and I emailed him back that as well as being snug as a bug, I was also smug as a bug - having 1)gone down off the mountain to bank and buy groceries before it started, 2)proceeded to bring in a gigantic pile of wood for the stove from my outdoor pile instead of lazily bring it in from the enclosed back porch/woodshed, 3)spent the afternoon quilting, eaten supper, had a nice little nap and 4)I am prepared to quilt all evening.
We talked about looking back over the year and looking forward to the New Year's clean slate. I feel good that I have managed to cut down my waiting list for my customer's finished commissions and am finally in a position to set aside time for my own creative muse and for some serious stash busting. Talk about visions of sugarplums - what a bunch of quilt ideas I have jostling around to get accomplished.
I've only made one or two designs of my own this year so it will be a great joy to do more now.
For a long time now I have wanted to try translating a Joe Norris painting into fiber art. His paintings are so reflective of the hard, brilliant Northern Atlantic light seen in Nova Scotia; and his designs frequently include a decorated frame evocative of applique quilt borders - with all the great balis and marbles it should be a joy to try one.
I also want to do either a small or a larger quilt using the traditional 19th century red, green and acid yellow prints - perhaps this small Birds of a Feather hanging for a friend who needs a "no-occasion" gift right now. Anyway, lots of ideas!!! Lots of fun!! And best of all can use up a tiny fraction of my stash.
I'm planning to make the best of this enforced stay at home time.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

WISHING YOU PEACE AND GOODWILL - (and lots of quilting time!)

Pieceful wishes for a happy and safe holiday season - best wishes from a non-consumer this year and every year and hopes that your creative juices flow into your quilts this coming New Year!!
Personally, I am giving gift certificates from this year - an organization that enables you and I to loan to people wishing to develope their businesses in third world countries through local ngo's specializing in microfinance.
I have been reading many blogs lately and am inspired by them to bust stash and use it in "my time" quilts every weekend, leaving the week days to my commissioned work - it's time now to do something for my own creative urges rather channeling them all into commissioned quilts. You will be hearing from me and seeing these quilts that are bubbling to the surface - I look forward to communicating with you all and taking my example from your creativity!
Janet in beautiful coastal Nova Scotia

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Minor Mishap

We are about to have the massive snowfall that the US eastern seaboard is now experiencing - it is just starting here and is extremely cold. My first chore in the morning in the winter is to get the woodstove perking out lots of heat and replenish the heap of wood beside it. I was picking up wood just now and dropped a piece on my baby finger - much blood and therefore have to wait for it to scab over before I can start to quilt. So-o-o it makes sense to blog first, quilt later.
Lately I've been wanting to bust stash and my best efforts have been not to buy any more fabric for a while - I'm doing admirably well on that score but can't seem to find the time to actually make anything using my stash. I have lots of ideas - that's not the problem - the problem is finding time to work on my own creativity while completing the many projects that have been commissioned. Of course they take first place, but I think (I hope!) I'm getting to the point where I can make a New Year's resolution. I am resolving to set aside weekends for my own projects, using my not inconsiderable stash to complete lots of ideas floating around in my brain. Let's see if I can stick to this!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Another job finished and going going gone!!!

I've been working on this wall hanging for a client who is an art dealer in British Columbia. He specializes in Native Canadian artists and this is the second piece he has asked me to interpret from a painting; check an earlier post for the first one I did for him, inspired
by a Daphne Odjig work.
This one is called Friends and the original was painted by Benjamin Chee. I plan to start the third in the series after Christmas rush is over and things calm down around here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I don't always blog about my "quality quilty time" As I warned you before, and you quilters all know this, quilting is sometimes a mindless, repetitive activity and my mind wanders off in all directions.
Being an avid student of social history, and in particullar local history and having spent the first 25 years of my life in Halifax,Nova Scotia,I am thinking today of the 90th anniversary of the 1917 Halifax Explosion. On Dec 6, 1917 at 9:04AM, 2000 people lost their lives, a thriving square mile neighbourhood of north-end halifax was wiped off the map and many people lost homes, livelihood, loved ones and way of life in an instant. Many were blinded by flying glass and many more were scarred and disfigured by the chemicals in the over 2 million kgs of explosives with which the Mount Blanc was overloaded when it collided with the Belgian relief ship Imo at the narrows of the Harbour. When I was a small child, only 25 years later, I remember seeing people who bore the scars as they went about their lives, and being told by my mother not to stare. I feel I must remember this and at shortly after nine this morning, my thoughts went back 90 years.
If you wish to learn more about this disaster, there are extensive archives online - I am including a before and after picture of the Acadia Sugar Refinery in the dock/railway/industrial complex in the northend as being typical of the more widespread devestation experienced.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Too Busy to post!!!

The Christmas push is on - the giant quilt has already been received by the folks who commissioned it; and the small wallhanging will go out Monday, leaving the lovely Garden Maze to be finished. Two out of three is not bad and with luck the present one will be finished within the next fortnight.
I finally decided to remove myself (as did two other members of the same organization's Board of Directors) from a very stressful and no-win situation. It's amazing what a great new surge of energy for creative endeavours followed that decision. I look forward to a very productive new year as a result. Will still be involved with community affairs but within a different group with slightly different aims. Am looking forward to this and to tomorrow's ham and beans supper to be followed by the lighting of the community's Christmas tree on the wharf. Should be fun. Will be baking a couple of loaves of oatmeal brown bread in the morning. If you'd like the recipe - give me a shout. It's delicious!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


YUCK!!! Today I was planning to go down off the mountain and take Marion's quilt to the Post office and ship it to her. She has been waiting so patiently and all I have to do later today is stitch on the hand embroidered quilt label and pack it up. I was then going to go on and pick up some fresh roasted fair trade coffee beans, go to the hardware store, shop for groceries and check my daughter's mail. Not in the stars today - has been snowing and sleeting and this is how it looks out my door so I don't think I will be going anywhere. Too slippy - this early in the year the roads have not yet been pickled in salt and thus safer, as they will be after a few more snowfalls. Tomorrow and the rest of the week will be much better - the temperature is expected to rise to 10 Celsius, which is around 60 Fahrenheit.
The descent to the valley floor 600 feet below me is very abrupt and if it can be avoided, not to be done in bad winter weather. I served my time with many white knuckle trips before I retired so avoid it now without guilt - LOL.

So today I will continue working on Ruth's Garden Maze quilt - this is a lovely handpieced top in nice spring colours she purchased in her home area and someone recommended me to her as the person to handquilt it - need to get a better picture - my batteries are low.

May get inspired to work on Mich's wallhanging - it is a quilt version of an art print by Benjamin Chee Chee called Friends. Chee Chee was one of the founding artists of the Cree-Objibway First Nations art group in the 1970's. His wallhanging and Ruth's quilt are both promised before Christmas so I must work hard over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Progress on Janie's Quilt

Above is a picture of a quilt that is on display in a museum in Pennsylvania. I am making a reproduction of this quilt, with some slight variations, for a client in upstate New York. Although not an amish quilt, the original certainly reflects the love affair that the Pennsylvania "deutsche" have had with red, green and ochre, and will be a striking quilt when finished. It will be queen sized and I am on the piecing for the last flying geese of 80 which I have hand pieced - nothing beats the empowerment of being exactly right the first time and I have enjoyed doing them. Will be starting to piece the strips this evening and when that part is done the rest is a stroll on the park!! Will keep you posted - hang in there, Janie, it won't be long now!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


We did it!! And we survived, even though a little dazed and fatigued. We earned the most $ yet for the United Baptist church down the road from Grace and I and we received rave reviews from the visitors too.
The bake table was well received - the bread and muffins gone by midday Saturday. Connie brought in a lovely iced cake Sunday and it went not five minutes after it was placed on the table. Refreshments were yummy!
Lots of bouquets of dahlias and glads; green and partially ripe tomatoes and apples, jams, pickles and preserves - yum!!!
This is a picture I took on Saturday of avid quilters picking over the yardage, fat quarters and eighths, notions, books and patterns. This was taken in the Fellowship/Sunday School room - the church itself was reserved for our best yet display of quilts, many of which sold during the two days.
Now I am in recovery mode and catching up on housework plus making a dessert for the Historical Society's annual Dessert Party and Nautical Gift Basket draw to be held tomorrow afternoon after the Annual General Meeting.
Was having a crisis of indecision between gingerbread with whipped cream, lemon loaf, or apple crisp with whipped cream. Settled on the apple crisp and will make it using gravenstein apples - a heritage apple that does not keep over winter but is luscious either in a cooked recipe or eaten out of hand.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Waiting for the show!!!

After doing all the publicity we can, we now have to wait patiently for next weekend to see if we will be a success. Grace and I have delivered and posted posters and flyers, exhorted friends and acquaintences to show quilts and have gone through our caches of books, notions, fabric and patterns to see what we can put on the new-to-you table. Our friends the Bernina Lady - Jeanne Huntley, and Gayle and Glenice at the friendly fabric store (Avonport Discount) will have all sorts of goodies to look at as well as purchase and I'm going to go to Avonport this week to drop off my faithful 35 year old Bernina for servicing and pick up Jeanne's publicity brochures and the pieces she and friends wish to display. Suzanne and her mother Myrtle will be bringing armloads of their yummy quilts, as will many other quilters from near and far.
Now, all we need is for lots of people to come out - and it's the best time of year to go for a run in the country - the weather is great, the leaves are turning and the tourist attractions and great restaurants are less crowded now. So do take a run out and see us next weekend at the West Hall's Harbour United Baptist Church - the church dates to the 1840's and little has been changed in that time - lovely faux-grained and cream enamelled pews, and other lovely church furnishings. We will be at the church on Saturday Sept 29, 2007 from 10AM until 5PM and on Sunday September 30, 2007 from Noon until 5PM. To reach Hall's Harbour, take #359 north out of Kentville and go until you reach the Bay of Fundy. Go through the village, past the Lobster Pound and on up the hill two kms on the paved road until you reach the church - a white building on your right at the corner of the Sullivan Road. We will have a bright red white and blue OPEN banner outside. Admission is by freewill offering, the yummy refreshments are free and there will be a bake table and a Quilter's gently used table in addition to all the lovely quilts.
We hope to see you there, and maybe we'll even get some bus tours - we had a large group from Newfoundland several years aho.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Pictured is a seat pad hand hooked in the 20's or 30's here in Nova Scotia. I will be offering this vintage hooked rug for sale at our upcoming Quilts at the Harbour quilt show and sale on Sept 29 and 30th. There is a little unravelling at the outside edges, but as you will note, the artist worked far outside the edges of the intended seat pad so it can be restored with no loss to the design. will tell you all about the quilt show and sale.
The rug is hooked from a pattern distributed by Garrett's of New Glasgow, Halifax and Boston; these lovely patterns, after years of storage in the old Garrett's factory in Nova Scotia are now being reproduced again by a Pictou, Nova Scotia firm.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Above is a picture of a sweet, vintage quilt kit I have in my collection and will be making up for sale. All you lovers of retro - and retro is very in right now - will love it! If you are interested, act now as I only have the one and usually my quilts sell quickly when customers see me working on them.

Monday, September 3, 2007


This is an autumn picture of the barrens near Duncan's Cove , Halifax Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia. I think this is a good example of why many Nova Scotians long for home when we are away. This area is less than a half hour drive from the downtown core of Halifax and anyone living in this city can easily access the great outdoors.
This is the favourite time of year for visitors to the province and many older travellers with no children in school are here to take in the many festivals and events, such as Octoberfests, Celtic Colours Cape Breton music festivals, and last but not least our own Hall's Harbour Quilts at the Harbour 9th annual quilt show and sale to be held this year at the West Hall's Harbour United Baptist Church Saturday,September 29 10 to 5PM and Sunday, September 30 from 12 noon until 5PM. Plan to attend - contact me at: for further info.
The magnificant colours in the photo above inspire me to attempt a quilt on the subject of autumn and a pictorial quilt inspired by one of Joe Norris' fall paintings is in my future.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Everyone is doing it these days - blogging I mean - and I've finally decided to take the plunge and set up my blog.
Welcome aboard! Here I'll be recommending some of my favourite notions, threads and sources for all the goodies quilters like you just have to have - now and then I'll give you peeks at my own stash of supplies - I think I have the most so should be the winner in the stash race!! Let me know if you have more. LOL
I'll also talk from time to time about my passions - which mainly have to do with fabrics from the 1825 - 1900 period and with traditional quilt design and technique.
Right now, foremost in my mind is the upcoming quilt show and sale in my little community - I convene it every year and am in the midst of delivering flyers , posting posters and rounding up exhibitors. Just hit on a great idea for participants - I have to drop off my 35 year old Bernina to the bernina lady to have it serviced and repaired and will get a bunch of leaflets and business cards from her to give out at the show - it's to everyone's advantage to make sure there is a local source for Bernina - tthose wonderful and indestructible sewing machines - for so long there was no dealer in this province - we don't need to go back to that again!
I posted the above image, a complimentary pattern from Moda fabrics, for use with their 3 sisters line called chocolat - a very simple pattern that shows off the lovely fabrics beautifully - I have in my stash two complete charm packs and some yardage as well and I'm trying to decide what to make with these treasured fabrics - ideas anyone?