Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Nova Scotia - Canada's Ocean Playground

That's the licence plate slogan, but Nova Scotia is also a province of hard work. The sea and beaches are fun in summertime, but the sea is also a place of work. This is evident in every small port and fishing village dotting the shoreline of the province.  Many lobster fisherman ply the offshore grounds in rather small boats - it is not an easy job and the risks are high. The beaches, villages, boats, wharves, processing shacks and lighthouses sure make for picturesque photos, though.  I thought I'd share some with you in this post.

 Fort Point Lighthouse & museum, Liverpool, N.S.

Carter's Beach, Port Mouton, N.S.
(if the water wasn't so cold, you'd think you were on a Caribbean island)

The crystal clear waters of Carter's Beach

Hunt's Point Wharf, N.S.

Processing shacks, Hunt's Point Wharf, N.S.

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The Maritimes is full with salt- and sun-weathered building treasures.

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I think these must be the real deep-sea lobster traps...or else they're made extra strong to stay down longer and hold a larger catch than the traditional, arched wooden traps.

Tied up at Hunt's Point Wharf

Hunt's Point Wharf from the beach. This is one of the most photographed wharves in the province. From the time I was about 14 to 30 years old, my grandparents owned a house and three rental cottages on this idyllic bay with shallow, crystal clear water and fine white sand. I've got many happy memories of this place.

After our week on the South Shore at the family reunion to celebrate my parent's 50th wedding anniversary, we packed up our rental car and headed to my sister's place in Charlottetown, PEI. En route, D requested a visit to the iconic lighthouse at Peggy's Cove. The rest of the photos were taken there. Honestly, it is the most picturesque seaside village ever!

An art festival was on during our visit, so artists 'in residence' were painting throughout the village.

Lobster floats

The week before we visited, a tourist was swept off the rocks by a rogue wave. He got lucky; a fisherman was just pulling out of the harbour and came to his rescue in the high swells within 15 minutes. Another 5 minutes and the story would not have ended well - the frigid water of the North Atlantic is unforgiving.

Another view of this world-famous lighthouse.

You've got to love a piper!

I hope you enjoyed my little tour of our South Shore highlights! I'll try and return to some quilty posts soon...

[NOTE FOR OBSERVANT READERS: I realize that there is some extra script from Flickr showing up on a couple of the photos. Flickr has once again changed their code for imbedding photos and I'm still working out how to change the HTML so that their logo and photo name doesn't automatically appear in an ugly frame around all of my pictures. WHY FLICKR? WHY? I'm so bummed by their constant upgrades and changes that paying users DO NOT WANT. There is a giant "we hate this new imbed code" comment thread on their site]. Sigh.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Looking for that special SPARK? or maybe a giveaway?

Then you're in the right place!! I'm really proud and happy to have a new partner here on Poppyprint: Canadian online shop Fabric Spark.  I met Daryl at Spring Quilt Market and was immediately drawn to her kind demeanour and mutual love of unique fabric substrates and prints.  We recently enjoyed an unexpected visit right here in Vancouver!  I wanted you all to know more about Daryl and her lovely shop, so asked her to share her philosophy and vision.

Fabric Spark started as Daryl Aitken’s passion project. She had nurtured a love of design and creative endeavors in her spare time as a sewist/knitter/crafter and in her career spanning over 30 years in advertising and marketing. For most of that time, making took a distant back seat to work, but finally last year after selling her small business, Daryl got to turn her attention back to her first love.

Fabric Spark was launched last January and reflects Daryl’s belief that good fabric design should spark your imagination and start the ideas flowing. “I like to look at a piece of fabric the way a sculptor looks at a hunk of marble… if it’s really great, I start thinking immediately about all of the things I’d like to make with it” That’s her buying filter for the shop – the fabric needs to inspire her, and in turn, hopefully inspire her customers....

Lotta Jansdotter Follie

..and it does! Daryl provides a personally inspired write-up for just about all of the collections in her shop and even makes a few suggestions about what she’d do with it: what’s the “spark” from the fabric?  

I love Daryl's May bundle - still available!

Fabric Spark also has a great selection of patterns and Wool and theGang yarn from the UK, and there are monthly subscriptions that deliver a specially-curated bundle of coordinating fat quarters to subscribers every month.  She is also kindly selling autographed copies of my book from her shop at a great price (yay!). 


Often Daryl find unique limited run prints (I love her Japanese and double gauze finds!). Be sure to sign up for her newsletter at the bottom of her shop homepage so you don't miss out on these special fabrics. You can also keep up with shop happenings and specials on the blog, Facebook or Instagram. Fabric Spark is one of the few Canadian retailers with stock of Anna Graham's sublime Rainwalk (in organic quilting cottons and cotton canvas - pictured above). I may have just placed an order....


Thanks for reading all about my newest partner. I hope you'll check out her shop and support a fellow fabric junkie. Daryl would like to share one of her custom bundles featuring some gorgeous classics (below) with one of my readers (that's YOU). All you have to do is leave one comment below for a chance. A random winner will be chosen Monday evening (Aug.3) after what I hope is a lovely long weekend. Please be sure your email is linked to your comment, or written into your comment - if I can't contact you, I'm afraid the random number robot will get to choose another winner.

This is my last birthday month giveaway. Good luck friends!

ETA:Comments are now closed, thanks for stopping by. Congratulations to Kristy of Hopefulthreads who is commenter #84. The RNG chose YOU!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

There just aren't enough blogposts about donkeys...

Here's my attempt to do something about this interweb crisis. Allow me to introduce Ozark and Isabelle:

They live on my uncle and aunt's farm in Nova Scotia. We've just returned from our family summer vacation in the Maritimes, so prepare for photo posts over the next little while. It is pretty tough to take a bad photo in the Maritimes...it is such a scenic part of our country!  Okay, so donkeys.

Ozark is still getting used to his new stable-mate Izzy (witness ears back in top photo). Both of these cuties are rescue animals that now get to live a lovely life in a gorgeous barn and pasture, along with Bailey the horse (photo below). My aunt Karen is such a compassionate animal-lover and she's taking very good care of these donkeys.  She recently lost her first rescue donkey Owen and everyone was very sad and missing Owen and his hilarious personality terribly. A farrier alerted her to Izzy, who was suffering terrible neglect. Luckily, Izzy recently got to come live at her new home and she's settling in just fine.

Look at that face!!! She's a character like no other. Karen's been trying to find out what kind of donkey grows hair like a llama.  Apparently there is a very rare breed of long-haired donkey, but a large rescue centre in Ontario thinks it unlikely that Izzy is that kind of donkey, just because they are indeed so rare.

She likes to fill up her hair-do with dust.

Ozark seems mystified and rather embarrassed for her.

They both loved the love, though. I think Ozark's ears are back just to maintain his reputation. He really does seem like a sweet fella.  We had such a nice visit - it was my first time seeing the farm since they'd moved there. D was all smiles because she got to ride around the pasture on Karen's horse Bailey.

I took a zillion photos because a farm is too good a photographic location to pass up!  I rode and had my own horse all through high school.  I miss being around horses regularly.

The chickens get to free range all day and bring themselves inside every evening.

This is the neighbour's old barn next door.

After our visit we drove to a well-known lobster supper spot in Hall's Harbour for dinner. The tide was high when we arrived, but dropped about 6' during the 2 hours we were there!

Here's B with our dinner. You choose your lobsters from the tank in the gift shop, then walk them outside to the boil shack where they are prepared for you.  D couldn't quite reconcile the tank to pot scenario, so she chose to eat lobster mac & cheese instead.

I never imagined writing a post about donkeys with a side of lobster, but there you have it. More Maritime goodness to come. I hope you are enjoying your summer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cutting Garden featured in Homespun - and a giveaway!

If you've never had the pleasure of reading Homespun Magazine from Australia, I hope perhaps my latest quilt pattern will encourage you to order a copy! This has always been one of my fav sewing publications due to the varied projects (quilting, embroidery, sewing, collaging), gorgeous photography, matte paper, designer biographies and glimpses of quilting life DownUnder.  I wish it were easier to find in Canada. If you search online there are a few retailers in North America from which you can order copies.

Here's the adorable cover and a little detail of my quilt on the contents page!

The story of Cutting Garden is kind of a long one. You may recall that last year I worked with many neighbourhood friends (as well as others from my local quilting community) to make a Scrappy Sprouts quilt for our friend who was diagnosed with cancer.  The quilt we made was inspired by a quilt my friend Tracey made with sewing buddies the year before for her friend with cancer.  We both feel that the block is sweet and hopeful and I know that both quilts brought so much joy to their recipients. 

Cutting Garden by Poppyprint
The location photos in the magazine are just stunning and make me so proud to have a project included!

Well, the editors at Homespun saw a photo of my quilt online and approached me to create a similar one, but they wanted a design with more flowers and a darker "ground".  I first asked Tracey if she wanted the gig, after all, it all started with her block design and quilt.  The timing wasn't right for her, but she graciously allowed me to go ahead with a quilt using a smaller version of her block.  Because of Tracey's generosity and the origins of this quilt, I've donated my modest design commission to cancer research - that just felt right.

Cutting Garden by Poppyprint

The scale of a dresden plate flower didn't work with these smaller sprout blocks, so I designed some folk-art inspired flowers that are made up of two pieced quarter circles, some bias tape applique stems and machine appliqued circles.  I love how they look on top of those pretty rainbow sprout stalks.  It is really difficult to showcase the scrappy low-volume background fabrics in photographs, but trust me, there are tons of prints in there!

Cutting Garden by Poppyprint
One of my fav things about the quilt are the two Heather Ross bumble bees on the flowers (Briar Rose fabric line).

Cutting Garden (detail) by Poppyprint

This quilt is a fabulous scrap-buster. There is a lot of piecing, so it takes a while, but the results are so pretty. I cut the squares from pressed scraps using my Accuquilt GO!Baby cutter, which saved lots of time.  I have a little stash of leftover HST's, squares and stems that I saved for one lucky follower along with a copy of the magazine if you'd like to make this quilt yourself.  

Scrappy Sprouts leftovers

Please leave one comment below for a chance to win. Your email MUST be linked to your comment, or appear in the comment itself, in order for you to win.  I'll choose a random winner next week on my birthday: July 22nd. Good luck everyone!

ETA: comments are now closed. Congratulations to comment #74 chosen by the random number generator! The Rx Quilter, you've won!! I'll email you for details on how to get your prize to you.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Calendar Girls!

I'm so excited to share that two projects from my book were chosen by the editors at Martingale for inclusion in their 2016 That Patchwork Place Calendar. It's a gorgeous calendar and it includes a full pull-out booklet of patterns, so you could make each of the featured projects!

All photographs by Brent Kane, copyright Martingale Inc.

My Orange Grove quilt was chosen for August. This quilt it such a favourite of mine. I really enjoyed all of the precise piecing (which I have not tackled again since, mind you!). But the very best part is the incredible quilting that Krista Withers put into this quilt. I'm awed by her work and super proud to have this quilt in my collection.

I've got a collection of rainbow pine tree blocks made by the Stash Trad Bee on Flickr a few years ago.  One of these days they need to be pieced together into a colourful version of this quilt.   Here's the calendar spread:

Also included is a gorgeous photo of Ayumi's sweet Big and Little Totes - definitely one of the most popular projects from Make It, Take It that I know many shops are featuring as a sample on their book display. Congratulations Ayumi (Ms. April)!

Ask for the calendar at your LQS, or order directly from Martingale! They're available now (and make the perfect gift for your quilty friends, or a great door prize for your December guild meetings).  Better yet, leave a comment below for your chance to win one from me. Your email address must be linked to, or included in, your comment in order to win.  I'll randomly pick a winner on July 20th.  Good Luck!

ETA: Comments are now closed. Congratulations comment #13. Jen, you've won the calendar!