A Pieceful Life

A Pieceful Life

Welcome

I'm so glad that you stopped by, and hope that you enjoy your visit. Here you will find pieces of my life - quilting, cross-stitch, family, travel, friends.
My name is Peg - I am a 60ish wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend - and if we're not already related or friends, hope to become your friend too.
We live in the eastern end of the beautiful Fraser Valley, about 1.5 hours east of Vancouver, BC. Empty nesters, we have one son living just a few minutes away, our other son and daughter live in Alberta.
Comments are always welcome, always read - and answered if need be. Feel free to share, I love hearing from all my cyber-space friends.
Please do check out some of the links in my side-bar - you'll find other bloggers and fabulous people to visit.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Reorganization

As we finished up painting and re-flooring our bedrooms, and created some extra storage space, that of course led to cleaning out closets and sorting things out.  Well, the next step was, logically or illogically the garage.  Grizz has been busy the last few days making some extra shelving – up above the garage door:

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This meant I could buy some new bins, and sort out the Christmas stuff.  And, yes, those bins are orange, not red or green, but they were on sale so…..

It’s wonderful!  And more space created in the garage, so we can continue with the reorganization projects – when we get home. 

We head for Alberta tomorrow, with a stop at my parents’.  So we’ll be cuddling those babies real soon!  LV (9 months) is crawling now and a busy, busy little girl.  LW (4 months) is finding his voice and squealed at us over the phone the other day.  Can hardly wait!  And, coincidentally, this trip will also empty a few more things out of our house and garage.

Happy reorganization!            Blessings, Peg

PS – in case some of you are wondering, some time ago I had shared that we were thinking of a move to Alberta.  That just didn’t happen for us, and now we’re in the process of working on moving my parents closer to us here, so we’re going to stay put – that’s why we started all the renos and updating in our house.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Almost Ready to Go

We’re heading for Alberta in a few days, and we have a whole pile of ‘stuff’ to take along:003

Included are the bibs that I’ve just made for LV and LW:001002

And bins of cut fabric so I have something to keep me busy:004

As well as the designs for a series of Disney princess embroidery projects (some day maybe a quilt?) for some hand-work:005

Between now and then, my At the Beach wall-hanging is also ready for satin stitching:

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Counting the sleeps!                   Blessings, Peg

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Slowly Step by Step

An idea I’ve had for a while is looking like it’s going to come about.

Years ago, on a beach vacation, we took pictures of our children playing.  I am now in the process of taking the idea of the original photos and making an applique quilted wall-hanging.

Here’s the beginnings:

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The idea is to take the mirrors out of this old window,002

paint the frame white, and put the quilt behind it, so it will look like we’re looking out the window at the children playing on the beach.  Then it can be hung in our bathroom that has no windows!

Lots more work to complete the ‘picture’, like adding a sailboat and maybe a beach umbrella and towel.  I’m using Joan Statz’ (Joan’s Own Creations) method of applique for this project

Oops, I see that when I marked the frame on the quilt, I put the horizontal line at the bottom, when it’s supposed to be at the top – have to fix that!

It’s been slow going, but coming along, step by step!

Happy creating!                   Blessings, Peg

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Should Have Paid Attention!

You’ve heard the old saying ‘measure twice, cut once’.  Well, I’m here to add to that – measure once, sew once.

Yesterday I sat down to make a small valance for our ensuite bath window.  I had just the right size piece of fabric, and started sewing away!  Got it all finished, tried to put it on the rod, to discover that the rod pocket was too small!

Oh, brother!  How silly!  It’s not like this was my first rodeo!  So not only did I have to sew that seam twice, but I had to rip it all out first.

Anyway, here’s the result, just a nice little finish to that window:

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(The color in this picture is way off – no matter what setting I used, couldn’t get the true color).

And while I’m here sharing this tip, I was cleaning out a drawer yesterday, and found a page from an old magazine with a number of tips.  Obviously I’d set it aside to maybe apply some of these, and probably to share with you all.  So here they are:

  • For hanging rulers and templates, use a belt hanger – a good way to get them off your sewing table, especially if you have lots of them
  • Round-A-Belt Hanger
  • For the bottom of a bag or tote, use those nice flexible plastic cutting boards.  Cover the plastic with batting, and a fabric sleeve, and slip into the bottom of the bag
  • For appliqué templates, photocopy onto freezer paper.  You’ll probably need to hand feed the freezer paper into the printer, but then you can press the waxy side of the freezer paper onto your fabric for a cutting guide.  And it’s inexpensive!
  • For ironing fusibles, especially if you don’t have a Teflon sheet, use parchment paper under and over your fabric.  This will save both your ironing board cover and your iron if the fusible slips out from under the fabric. Another common kitchen item, and not expensive either.
  • For frogging, stick the sharp end of a small needle into a cork, and use the eye to slip under the stitches.  Doesn’t fray the thread or the fabric, and the cork gives you a ‘handle’.  And this won’t cost you anything at all!  Just finish up that bottle of wine, and find the needle in your drawer.  Wish I’d seen this before I had to rip out that seam yesterday, but rest assured, this one is in my sewing basket now:

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Happy tips!                  Blessings, Peg

Friday, February 13, 2015

Best Laid Plans

I started the week with all kinds of ideas of things I wanted to get done.  First up, was a search for a missing item – that I never did find, BTW.  Searching meant looking through drawers and cupboards, which led to cleaning out the linen closet.  Great!  Not on my list, but wonderful to have done.  It’s amazing the things we do find at times like this, though.  Like this little wall-hanging that I did a number of years ago:

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Really not sure why it was taken down, but it will be hung up again in the next day or so (Right now propped against my serger).

Anyway, just as I finished the closet, I bent over for something (not holding anything heavy, or planning on picking up anything), but my back went into spasm.  Big time!  This lead to several hours of heat and anti-inflammatory meds and muscle relaxants.

Thankfully, by Tuesday morning, I was a lot better, but still a little stiff, so another day of taking it easy.  While lolling around, I picked up my x-stitch project with plans to see if I could get it finished.  Well, it’s just not coming together to my liking.  Here’s a glimpse:003

The project is a small village – each building is only 2-3” high.  I’ve tried several ways to attach the roofs, but nothing is looking really good (this is the best of the lot so far.  So I’ve set this aside for another time in the future when I’ve done some more thinking about it.

By Wednesday I was back to almost full steam ahead, and got working on a couple of quilt projects…..pressing fabrics, cutting, figuring out yardage…..  BTW, how many yards of fabric would one plan on for a king-size log cabin quilt, cutting 1 1/2” strips?  Every time I figure it out, I think I’m coming up with 1.5-2 times the fabric I think should be needed.

But I eventually got one project complete:

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These Christmas stockings will eventually go to DD-A and her family, to add to the one I made for her a number of years ago.

All the while I was nursing my back and picking away at the small things, Grizz was moving forward with getting the main bath painted and installing the new toilet there.  That’s done!  And yesterday was a day of putting everything back in place.  We officially have an old people’s house now, complete with senior-height toilets and lever handles on all our doors!

Oh, and BTW, that little spoon that I was wondering about in my last post:002

A reader, Barbara, from Maryland searched the web (why didn’t I think of that?) and found an ad on eBay for a spoon just like it.  It was called a fruit spoon/tomato corer.  So there we are, now we know!

Yes, plans made and plans changed, but still getting things done!  Isn’t it lovely!                    Blessings, Peg

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Family Stories

It has become an extended family tradition, on the Family Day weekend here, to gather together at the grave sites of my in-laws – a time to honor them and remember them.  Afterward, we go for lunch together at a restaurant that was their favorite, and spend time reminiscing and telling over again the stories that were told as the family was growing up.

This year, we had occasion to look through some old papers that we all had sitting around, and discovered/were reminded of some very interesting family history.

For example, my father-in-law with his family had fled Ukraine to Germany before WWII, and later he enlisted in the German army in order to avoid being conscripted into the Russian army.  During the war, he was held as a POW by the British and ‘traded’ back to the Russians, who took him to a camp in Austria, tried him as a traitor and sentenced him to 10 years hard labor.  He escaped from this camp and made his way back to Germany.  There he had to obtain some kind of papers to be able to remain in the country and work.  The German government aided men such as this, but often the facts were skewed.  In my father-in-law’s case, they used his stepmother’s name in the place of his own mother’s, and falsified his place of birth.

All this to say that, among all of these old papers, we discovered a statement made before a magistrate, correcting this misinformation.  As we discussed all of this, and his children remembered the things they’d been told, we determined that this was done in order to have correct information for the Canadian government when they immigrated to Canada.

Also, among these papers was a statement from the shipping line, confirming their passage to Canada and the cost of passage ($540 Cdn for two adults and two minor children), along with the fees charged to enter Canada and then make their way by train across the country to join the rest of my father-in-laws family here in the Fraser Valley.

As interesting as this was, things got a whole lot closer to home when we turned this statement over and looked at the back.  On there, in my mother-in-laws hand-writing was a recipe for Einfache Ffefferkuchen (Easy Spice Cookies).  This was fascinating.  We wondered why she would choose to write a recipe on the back of an ‘official’ paper, but then thought maybe that was the only paper she had available.  Regardless, this is the only recipe of their mother’s that Grizz and his siblings have.  Grizz’s brother was the only one who remembered these cookies – and he’s the baby of the family.

Grizz and I spent a fair bit of time, first deciphering the hand-writing to determine the correct words, and then using Grizz’s fading grasp of German and Google translate, we translated the recipe, then printed it for his siblings.

I thought I’d share it with you all:

8 C flour                                 1 1/2 C sugar                                   1/2 C butter (actually ‘fat’)        2 eggs                                           1tsp ground cloves                  1 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking soda        2tsp cinnamon                              2 tsp ammonia powder (substitute   1/2 lemon rind grated                        baking powder), mix with a little    1 1/2 C honey                                   water to make 3-4 Tbsp

Mix half the flour with the spices; melt honey and sugar together and let cool, then add to the flour mixture, stirring slowly.  Mix eggs with the salt/baking soda/ammonia mixture and add to the flour mixture.  Leave the dough sit for (about/up to/at least) 8 days in a warm spot.  When ready to bake, add the remaining flour and knead to a soft dough.  Roll the dough into ‘straws’ and poke with a fork.  Dough can be rolled in almonds before baking if desired, or after baking dipped in melted chocolate.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes (This is a total guess as there were no baking instructions with the recipe).

It’s a little cool and damp right now to try this, especially if I really want to leave it sit for several days (and that part of the instructions was a little vague as we couldn’t find a translation for the words used).  But someday I’m going to try this out. 

And speaking of memories, when my parents moved last summer, my mother found a few things around, like a whole bunch of Nabob coupons.  She handed them over to me, not sure what I could possibly do with them, but they were from my paternal grandmother originally.  I think people used to collect these and turn them in for free products.  A statement of the frugality of people who lived and raised families during the wars and the Depression.

Then my mother also gave me this:

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She doesn’t know what it is, I certainly don’t know what it is, but again, it was my grandmother’s.  Anybody out there got any ideas?

It’s always fun to find or learn family history, and share memories and/or pass along the oral history from the stories our parents and grandparents told us.  A good way to spend Family Day weekend.

Happy memories.                Blessings, Peg

Friday, February 6, 2015

Done, Done, and Not Done

Well, here it is the end of the week again.  Some of the jobs I intended to do got done, others didn’t, yet others that weren’t planned got attention.

We painted our ensuite bath and installed a new toilet.  That meant that the cupboard and drawers got a cleaning, as did the grout on the tile floor (not planned, but good to have out of the way).  And bought curtains and rods for the master bedroom window and got them hung up (done but not planned):

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I had hoped to finish up a cross-stitch project this week, but that didn’t happen, maybe next week.  I did finish the basics of a knitting project, now need to block it and embellish, and sew together – another one that I thought I might finish up, but didn’t.

What I did finish, that was planned, was this little project:005

Small, simple, but oh, my it took a long time!  These racks will be handy for us when we’re playing Dominoes or Rummy-O. So, in the end the count is 1 planned and done; 2 not planned and done; 2 planned and not done.  Not so bad!

Now making plans to move forward with some quilting projects.  Last weekend our DDIL-M showed me her ideas for the quilt I’d like to do for their new home.  And I have a couple of wall-hangings and a quilt for our trailer and a quilt for donation planned.

And in between the bathroom job and needlework, I’ve been gathering information to help my parents decide on the next stage in their lives.  They’ve agreed to move to our area which is a huge relief for us – no more worrying that they’ll need some help and we can’t get to them because the roads are closed (they live about 3 hours away across 2 mountain passes). 

Today, more information gathering, including a trip to the bank, and helping DS-K with some jobs around their house.

For the coming week, going to see if I can get the knitting and cross-stitch projects finished up – and we’re going to tackle the main bath!

So happy to get things done!               Blessings, Peg