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, April 30, 2013

Z is for

Zebra (what else)

027

Zebras are a kind of horse that live in Africa.  They are striped black and white, unlike any other kind of horse.  You can tell the mood of a zebra by looking at its ears.  When a zebra is in a calm, tense or friendly mood, its ears stand erect. When it is frightened, its ears are pushed forward. When angry, the ears are pulled backward.

Z is also for Zip!  I have nothing!  So I headed for the old browser to see what I could find – and guess what

Zebra Cake (found on My Cake School)

Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake mix – use 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons Water rather than the 1 cup that it calls for.
Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake mix – follow the box directions, no changes

Mix the cake batter into two separate bowls:

Start by dropping 1/4 cup of vanilla batter into the middle of an 8″ pan.  It will spread a little bit.  Then…

Measure out a 1/4 cup of chocolate batter and pour it in the center of the vanilla batter.

Repeat this process, continuing with 1/4 cup scoops of alternating flavors, each flavor of batter dropped into the center of the previous circle of batter, filling 2 cake pans. The batter is thin enough that it does not take long at all for the batter to spread out a little bit.

Continue the process until your pans are approx 2/3 full.  (You may have a couple of cups leftover, which can be used to make extra cake layers for another time.)

Bake as per package directions

Assemble the two layers…the bottom layer right side up, and the top layer top side down (with buttercream in between).  I’m sure that the zebra effect would look pretty no matter how you stack your layers.

Frost with your favorite frosting and it’s time to cut the cake!!!

Now doesn’t that look yummy!  What better way to finish off a challenge than with some chocolate for dessert!

Happy challenge!   Happy zebra stripes!               Blessings, Peg

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for

Yak

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The Yak is a type of cow that lives in Tibet and parts of China, high up in the mountains, where the air is ‘thin’.  But they have a large lung capacity, allowing them to inhale large amounts of oxygen.  Yak milk makes good cheese, low in fat, and apparently very tasty!

Y is also for Y seams, those oh-so-difficult set-in seams that are so necessary in some quilts.

Y seams

Honestly, I avoid these at all cost!  I’ve yet to do these successfully.  But just in case there’s somebody out there that would want to tackle these, I found a site with a tutorial for how to hand-sew these seams.  And looking at this, I just might be able to do this.  So, if you’re looking for a tutorial, just follow this link to Sentimental Stitches.

Happy Y-seams!               Blessings, Peg

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for

Bird – no, not really, but the only animal beginning with ‘X’ that I could pronounce is a bird called the Xantus

025

The Xantus is a hummingbird that lives in Mexico.  It’s only about 4 inches long, weighs only about 1/10 oz., and has a mostly green body with a mask of black coloring over its face and a white stripe running down the back of its eyes. Its underbelly is described as having a cinnamon color with a dark orange tail.

X is also for X-stitch, my other favorite activity.  I’ve been cross-stitching for so many years, I don’t think I could count them, and when I sit in the evening, it’s how I relax.  For me there’s nothing better to keep my fingers busy.  As much as I enjoy quilting, it is so much more a day-time activity for me, when there’s lots of light and I’m wide awake.  So many less mistakes made that way.  My latest project is one that I’ve shared here before, a pattern converted from a photo of a painting that the artist gave me with her blessing to remake it into a x-stitch.  Stitching started in 2007, intermittently done and a total of 27 months now actually worked on.  It looks like there’s about 3-4 more months work to go – here’s what it looked like about 3 years ago:

036.Kilby x-stitch

And here’s what it looked like about 3 months ago:

004

Do you have a favorite hobby or craft (or if you’re a quilter, another favorite hobby or craft)?

Happy stitching!               Blessings, Peg

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for

Whale024

Whales live in water, but they’re not fish, so can’t breathe underwater, but come up to the surface to take their breaths.  Whales eat smaller fish, but don’t have teeth to chew, so just simply swallow their food whole.

W is also for Washing To wash or not to wash, that is the question.  When I bring home quilt fabrics, I always wash, machine dry and press them before I put them away.  This way, I know that whatever their shrinkage may be, it’s already done.  But that’s just my preference.  One person I know washes, but just folds and puts the fabric away, and then only presses as much as she’s going to use when she pulls it out for a quilt.  Again, the shrinkage is done.  I just can’t put the fabric away unpressed, some of it is so wrinkled that it would take ages to press that all out after it’s sat on the shelf for a time in that state. 

There are others who only wash the fabric when they’re ready to use it.  That’s worth considering, but then I think I’d have to divide my stash into washed and unwashed piles because sure as shootin’ I’d want to use some washed and some not in a future project.

And then there are those who don’t wash prior to cutting and sewing, but wash the quilt after it’s all done.  Their reasoning is that the sizing in the fabric helps to keep it stable while cutting.  For that, I use pressing spray, especially when cutting on the diagonal.

And consideration needs to be given to whether or not to wash the batting.  Most batting has minimal shrinkage, but if the fabric is washed and the batting not, there will be some – which, in my opinion gives the quilt that nice ‘used, loved’ look, so I don’t pre-wash batting.

So there you have it – each person has to decide for her/himself, and maybe this discussion will help you.

Happy washed fabric!                 Blessings, Peg

Facebook

Every morning, I wake up and catch up with the world by reading blogs, reading emails, sending out a few messages, and checking out Facebook.  I got onto FB a few years back when a sister asked me to play Scrabble with her.  Then I discovered that most of my nieces and nephews were already on there, and thought it would be a good way to keep up with their lives and happenings.  A few distant friends, and folks that have moved away from our lives…..and it’s still a great way to keep up with things.

Besides hearing, or seeing, what’s going on with all those friends and family, I get a few tid-bits every day that catch my interest.  Here’s some of what I found there this morning:

People post beautiful pictures – of God’s world and the glory of His creation:

There are opportunities to learn some health tips and facts:

HOW TO SURVIVE A HEART ATTACK WHEN YOU ARE ALONE??
Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, without help,the person whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness.
However,these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest.
A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again.
Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital. Tell as many other people as possible about this. It could save their lives!!
A cardiologist says If everyone who sees this post shares it to 10 people, you can bet that we'll save at least one life..
Rather than sharing jokes only please contribute by forwarding this info which can save a person's life..

Sometimes there’s some advice for life and love:

Regularly there are opportunities to help in rescuing a lost pet:

Lost Dog Apr 19/2013 - Abbotsford - Mt Lehman area
Hi my sisters yellow lab Kara has been missing since 5pm yesterday (fri) from the mt lehman area in abbotsford. She's ten years old is very friendly and loves people. Please call Sam at 604-835-9755 if anyone sees her

And then there are the jokes:

HOW DO COURT RECORDERS KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE:

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
_______________________________
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
_____________________________________
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.
_________________________________
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
___________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
____________________________________
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He's 20, much like your IQ.
___________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?
_________________________________________
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
___________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.
_____________________________________
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
_________________________________________
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral...
_________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?
______________________________________
And last:
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No..
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law

Are you a member of Facebook?  What did you read today?

Happy connections!              Blessings, Peg

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for

Velvet crab

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The Velvet Crab is a type of crab with a fine hair coating that feels like velvet.  They live in the North Atlantic and in the western Mediterranean sea.  Just like other crabs, they can be eaten, but they’re very small, only about 4 inches across, so you’d need a lot of them to make a meal.

V is also for Value – color value in quilts – dark, medium, light.  How many times have we been told we need to combine these values when we’re choosing our quilt fabrics.  Okay, then, what constitutes dark, medium, light?  Honestly, I’m not good at choosing colors and tones and values, but recently I heard somewhere that using the black-and-white setting on a camera would help in seeing the difference in the value of the colors we’re auditioning for a quilt.  And with today’s cameras, it’s so easy to do that!

Here are two quilts to show you

The first is a mystery quilt done a couple of years ago, and I was to choose a combination of darks, mediums and lights, with one feature fabric as a jump-off point.  Can you see how the feature fabric, and border are the ‘dark’, with the colors becoming ‘medium’ and the background ‘light’

110Kathe's quilt

 

 

 

BandW2

This next is one that I did when I found all the bright colors, and put them against a black background.  There was no intention of using ‘light, medium, dark’ for this quilt, but you can see in the black and white view that indeed there are definitive lights and mediums in the colors.

002 (4)BandW

So there’s one way to practice choosing the value of the colors in quilt fabrics.

Happy value!             Blessings, Peg

LOL

Quilter’s Connection magazine posted this on FB this morning – started my day with a giggle:

Happy stitching!              Blessings, Peg

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for

Unicorn

022

The unicorn is not a real animal, but rather a story.  Unicorn means ‘one horn’, and there have been some goats and gazelles born with only one horn, and so stories about magical horses got started.  I’m not going to go into some of the legends and myths, but I just had to include the unicorn in my list of ‘animals’ because they’ve always fascinated me.

U is also for Useful items – all those little things that are helpful for quilting, that can be found around the house, or in a kitchen or hardware store, and that serve the same purpose as those quilting tools found in quilt stores.  Here’s a list of some that I have on hand:

  • Painter’s masking tape – to mark rulers for easy measurement, to mark the sewing machine plate for an accurate 1/4 inch seam, to secure backing fabric when making the quilt sandwich
  • Gardening gloves, with little ‘nubs’ on the fingers – for guiding your quilt when machine quilting
  • Pants hanger – to hang your pattern in clear view
  • Hair clips or clothes pins – to secure binding for hand-sewing
  • Rubber door stops – to tilt your machine for easier view
  • Chop stick – to push out corners and flatten seams when turning right-side-out
  • Ziploc bags to gather little pieces for quilt blocks, to keep them together in one place
  • Various size bins to keep quilt projects that are on the go
  • Binders – to keep all those patterns and ideas that are collected from the internet, etc.
  • Freezer paper – for applique templates, and for fabric printing
  • Shaving brush - to brush lint out of sewing machine
  • Toothbrush – use dry to remove chalk marking, wet to remove washable marking
  • Wooden clothes pin, taken apart – perfect for ‘finger’ pressing (and you can share one half with a friend!)

Happy uses for all those things just sitting around the house!   Blessings, Peg

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for

Tiger

021

A group of tigers is called an ‘ambush’, how appropriate as I can just picture a tiger sneaking around to ambush it's prey.  A tiger cub lives with its mother until it’s about 2 years old.  There are apparently more ‘pet’ tigers in the world than there are wild tigers.

T is also for Tips.  During this challenge, at times I’ve been sharing tips that I’ve picked up here and there, and tried to ensure that I give credit where credit is due.  Most of the tips have come from the TV show Fons’ and Porter’s Love of Quilting, which I find on the Detroit public TV station WTVS.  Some tips, like today’s, come from the magazine Quilting Connections’ FB posts.  So for those of you who like to collect tips, and get some valuable quilting lessons, those are two great sources.

Today’s tip comes from QC’s FB post:

Quilting Tip: Sign your quilt in permanent ink under the label. If the quilt is ever lost or stolen and the label is removed, your name will still be on it!

I have to confess I rarely label my quilts.  They’re going to family or close friends only, so I don’t worry about telling them who made it.  But when I get the quilting done by a professional long-arm quilter, I definitely put on a label to ensure that person gets the credit due her.  I have heard that some will ‘sign’ the binding, so at least the quilt-maker will be known as long as the binding lasts.  And recently somebody told me about a pair of quilts that was sold, and one of them found its way to a thrift shop, and the original quilt-maker found it and was able to buy it back!  Now how special is that – and if the quilt had been labeled, the label could have included contact information for the quilt-maker, asking for it to be returned when no longer needed or wanted!

Happy tips!                Blessings, Peg

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for

Seahorse

020

A seahorse is not a horse, it’s a fish, and the smallest type is less than one inch long.  The daddy seahorse hatches the eggs that stay in a pouch on his tummy.  Seahorses don’t ‘eat’ but actually suck up their food.  And when they want to rest, they curl their tail around some seaweed so they don’t float away.

S is also for Sharing, which is something that I see, and have experienced, quilters doing all the time.  They share tips, they share their quilts by giving them away and by putting them in shows, they share their expertise in helping others work through a problem, they share their stash.  And then the real experts, teach!  I so enjoy going to classes and learning from these quilting artists.

Recently I needed a couple of small pieces of fabric, and appealed to the ladies in my sewing group.  Sure enough, our hostess L opened up her stash and freely let me ‘shop’.  Because she’s been quilting for so many years, her stash is huge, and the perfect fabrics were found, and she freely shared them with me.   And then even more recently, I had an opportunity to share.  My niece and her little family came for a visit, and she was telling me she has a new sewing machine, and had made a first attempt at quilting – what more perfect place to share an extra cutting mat, rotary cutter, and some beginner quilting books that I had on hand!  She was so excited to take these home and get started, and I can hardly wait for her to show me her first quilt!

Happy sharing!                Blessings, Peg

Getting Ready

You know it’s spring around our house when we start to get ready for the camping season.

The truck has had its tune-up, the trailer goes in tomorrow for its tune-up, the batteries are charged, road-side assistance assurance has been bought, everything is licensed and insured, small sewing repair jobs have been completed, some reservations have been made, even some convenience foods are in stock.

We’ll be on the road in just a few weeks, a couple of shorter trips planned for the spring, and a few weekends over the summer.  Getting excited!

Happy camping!          Blessings, Peg

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for

Raccoon

019

Raccoons like to roam around at night, looking for their food.  They eat whatever they can find, whether it’s meat or vegetables or plants, and they don’t mind eating garbage.  Their front paws work kind of like human hands, so they can even open doors and lift up garbage can lids.

R is also for Rotary cutter, and rotary cutter mat, and rotary cutter rulers.  When I first started quilting, I got a mat and a rotary cutter, but didn’t have a ruler.  Grizz provided me with a straight edge, and I relied on the lines on the mat to cut those first pieces of fabric.  Oh, man, how did I ever manage?  Well, actually if you look at that first quilt really closely, maybe not even all that closely because the flaws are really obvious, you’ll see that, in fact, I didn’t manage all that well.  But lessons learned.  Now I wouldn’t be without all of these tools.

029

These rotary cutters are sitting on the small mat that stays at the right-hand side of my sewing machine, handy at all times for trimming little bits, especially when paper piecing.  Besides this mat, I have two large-size 24x36, and a 17x17 rotating mat which is fabulous for trimming up all those blocks as they get pieced and pressed.

The ergonomic rotary cutter is probably one of the best investments I ever made, sure cuts down on the wrist strain!

As for rulers, I don’t have a lot, but I’ve certainly decided that for me, the simpler the ruler, the happier I am.  I find those rulers with lots of colors and dotted lines confuse me, so I look for Olfa rulers which are simply black lines for full inches, black dotted lines for half inches, and smaller measurements marked across the horizontal inch lines.  Works for me!  One of my most used rulers is 1x6 inches, handy to check the 1/4” seam, great for trimming up the seams when paper piecing.

Happy rotary cutting!                Blessings, Peg

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for

Quail

018

These cute little birds run around in my Mom and Dad’s yard all the time!  And they do run – their short little legs can move very fast.  They sometimes will fly away from danger, but only a short distance, and then they’ll start to run again.

Q is also for – what else? – Quilt  And quilts is the main purpose of this blog, the reason I started blogging, to share with other quilters, to get ideas, to commiserate, to be inspired and encouraged.  And I certainly am inspired and encouraged by all of the quilt blogging world.  I’m thankful for each and every one who reads this blog, follows, and/or comments.  I’m grateful to have made so many friends, to be part of such a great group of people.  And all because of quilts!

There are non-quilter bloggers out there, who have also become dear friends through blogging, and they certainly deserve mention here.  They continue to encourage my quilting efforts as well.

And all of you (and you know who you are) encourage and support me through other aspects of life as I share it with you.

THANK YOU   THANK YOU   THANK YOU

I can’t say it enough.

Happy friendships!              Blessings, Peg

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for

Panda bear

017

The Panda bears live in China, where bamboo grows.  And Pandas love to eat bamboo, for 12-16 hours every day.  Pandas have black and white fur, but their skin is black under the white fur and pink under the black fur.

P is also for Paper piecing.  I love paper piecing, the accuracy, the shapes, the imagery that it affords.  Yes, it takes time.  Yes, it can get tedious and repetitive.  But the pictures that come out of it!  If you look at the banner at the top of the screen (where, BTW, you’ll see that the name of this blog has been changed – I was in a mood, what can I say), the photo of the quilt on the left is a combination of piecing (the center and borders), paper piecing (the flying geese swirl units), and applique (the swirly units and the black geese).  This was my first attempt at paper piecing, and an early applique project.  The original pattern was pieced, with the black geese only appliqued on top.  It was a sales person in the quilt shop who suggested converting the swirling flying geese to paper piecing and the applique-ing them on top as well.  It was an adventure, but, if I do say so myself, turned out rather well.

Happy paper piecing!              Blessings, Peg

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for

Octopus

016

We all know that octopi (more than one octopus) have eight arms, but did you know that they have three hearts!?!  Maybe having all that love in their hearts is the reason they have eight arms – that’s just my theory!  Octopi have no bones, so need to live in the water to keep their shape.

O is also for Opening.  This is not quilting related, except maybe when you want to open the packaging for that new quilting tool:

ATT00031

Happy easy opening!             Blessings, Peg

Wednesday’s Words, and Hodge Podge

It’s back!  I missed it while it was on holiday, but so do enjoy getting to know other bloggers out there, and hope you all enjoy my revelations, too:

1. April 15th is the deadline for Americans to file their state and federal income taxes...what's a job you do on a regular basis that could be described as 'taxing'?
Pressing – unless I’m pressing fabrics and blocks for quilting!  LOL!

2. I'm participating in the April A-Z blog challenge and the Hodgepodge happens to fall on letter O this week. In keeping with that theme...olives, onions, oysters, okra...of the foods mentioned, what's your favorite O food?
Okay, have to say, none of the above, actually can’t think of a food that begins with ‘o’ that I do like

3. What is something memorable you experienced as a child that your own children (or future children/nieces/nephews) will not get to experience?
Camping with my parents.  And we did take our children camping when they were younger, and now two of them still enjoy camping trips regularly.  Looking forward some day to taking grandchildren camping, but it won’t be in a tent like when our kids were young – just too old now to sleep on the ground!

Okay, just discovered I read this wrong, and missed the word, not – but camping is just so much fun, I’m going to leave it this way anyway!

4. Term limits for our elected officials...your thoughts?
Well, when they’re doing a good job, they could stay forever, but when they’re not……

5. On April 18th 1775, Paul Revere made his famous 'midnight ride'....when did you last make a midnight ride?  Perhaps the fate of a nation wasn't hanging in the balance, but tell us where you were headed anyway.

The last midnight ride I remember was back when I was a teenager, and we did an overnight ferry trip outing to Vancouver Island.  In those days, I could actually stay awake all night, but we didn’t see anything of the Island, just rode the ferry and had a good time with the gang!


6. What would freak you out more...a mouse running across your floor or a big fat hairy spider?
Oh, the mouse, for sure, it might even make me say ‘Eeeeek!’

7. I love it when people ask me____________________________.
if I still work.  I think it’s great they think I still look young enough to be out there in the work force!

 
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Well, I’ve already posted my ‘O’ for A to Z, so I’ll share another tip I picked up.  This one is for summer travellers:

ATT00043

But, don’t tell too many people what you’re doing, or the bad guys will soon figure out to check out those extra lotion bottles!  LOL!

Happy times ahead!                 Blessings, Peg

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for

Nanny goat

015

Nanny is one name for a girl goat, a kind of nickname for Anne, just like Billy (boy goat) is a nickname for William.  Using these words for goats, instead of the regular buck and doe, started about 300 years ago.  Nannies are fiercely protective of their babies (kids) and you kind of have to be careful you don’t upset them or they’ll attack.  Many years ago, neighbors of ours had Nanny goats that gave them their milk to sell.  When the Nannies had a new batch of babies, the owners wanted to continue to sell the milk, so the babies had to be bottle fed.  The whole neighborhood took turns going over several times a day to help with the feeding; it was so much fun – and believe me the Nannies were in a separate pen!

N is also for needles.  Quilters need needles!  Whether machine sewing or hand sewing, it won’t get done without a needle.  I’m not going to discuss the kinds of needles or when/how to use the various needles, there are a lot more expert people out there to advise you about that. 

But we do need to keep the needles somewhere, and keep them safe.  So first, in their original packages is the best place to keep those new needles, obviously, so you know which needle you’re picking up.  I keep those sewing machine needle packages in the organizer box in the top left drawer of my sewing table.  When I put a new needle in my machine, I put that original package in the drawer to my immediate right, and that’s where I can check to see which needle is currently in the machine.

I’ve been told, numerous times, to change sewing machine needles frequently, and I do try to remember to do that, not just when I need a different size of needle or when a needle breaks, but after every several hours of sewing. 

But then, what do you do with that used/broken needle?  Also in my top right drawer, I keep an old pill bottle, to store them and when it’s full, I can safely toss it in the garbage, and I know nobody’s going to get pricked with the needle, or step on one.

028

Happy safe needle-keeping!              Blessings, Peg

A Win!

Not just that I got something, but these are real winners!

On a whim I entered a give-away last week, and promptly forgot all about it.  Well, that just made it all the nicer when the email arrived saying I’d won!  And I didn’t even have to wait for the winning to arrive in the mail, it was right there attached to the message – patterns for these two quilts:

They’ve come from Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs, her give-away shared on Lethargic Lass.

Thank you thank you thank you!  I can hardly wait to start picking fabrics for these – so much fun!

Blessings, Peg

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for

Monkey

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Monkeys live naturally in Asia, Africa and South America.  They eat fruits and vegetation, liking bananas a lot.  When a monkey yawns, it may be because he’s tired, but it also may be because he’s angry.

M is also for Mystery  I love a good mystery, and that is the type of book I read most often, not a suspense or a thriller, just a cozy mystery with an ordinary housewife or somebody like that getting involved and solving the case where the police fail to do so!  And puzzles, of all sorts – jigsaw, crossword, logic – it’s hard for me to pass up trying to solve those mysteries, my own little detective world.  Maybe my love of mysteries and puzzles is why I like quilting so much – because after all isn’t a quilt just a fabric puzzle!  And then there’s mystery quilts – putting the puzzle together, without knowing what it will look like in the end.  I’ve done a couple of those, and been happy with the outcome, and the unknown just adds to the excitement as it’s being built.

Happy mysteries!                Blessings, Peg

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for

Lion

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Lions can run as fast as 36 mph, but only for a short time.  This might be because they run on their tippy-toes!  You know if a lion is a boy because they have a mane.

L is also for lines.  Marking lines on quilts is often used to define quilting patterns, and there are all kinds of marking pens out there.  Lately my two favorites are these:

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The Clover ‘pen’ is actually chalk that’s dispensed through a little wheel – brushes right off!  And the Frixion pen comes in a multitude of colors (except white), and irons ou

Recently on Love of Quilting, a quilter sent in a tip for marking straight lines on quilts, without using any kind of marking pen.  She suggested that pinning straight strips of fabric along the line you want to quilt works beautifully.  That would certainly make it easy to follow the line, especially if you want to set the line 1/4 or 1/2 inch out from the piece of fabric.

Happy marking!              Blessings, Peg

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for

Koala Bear

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Koala bears (which are not actually real bears), also live in Australia, and like the kangaroo, carry their babies around in a pouch on their tummy until they’re big enough to climb trees on their own.  ‘Koala’ means animal that does not drink, because they rarely drink water but rather get their liquid from the eucalyptus leaves that they eat.

K is also for Keeping things handy.   There are all kinds of boxes and containers and organizers that can be helpful for keeping near at hand those tools and gadgets needed for whatever your hobby might be.  Here are pictures of the two top drawers of my sewing table:

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This first is of a box from a fishing tackle bag that I bought for another use.  There were 4 of these boxes in the bag, and they’ve been distributed around the house – one for Grizz’s workshop, one for some small craft supplies, one for embroidery floss, and this one.  You can see that various sewing machine feet and needles are prominent in this box, which sits at my left.

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The drawer at the right has another organizer box, that was a Tupperware craft box from years ago.  In there are spool holders, screw drivers, sewing machine brush, thimble, hand-sewing needles, and I also keep the container for the type of needle currently in the machine right there for quick reference.  This drawer also hold a number of other small tools and gadgets that come in handy.

On the top of my sewing table, behind the machine are these:

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Scissors, rotary cutters, marking pens and pencils, tracing wheel, tweezers, seam ripper, pincushion, tape measure, glue stick, water ‘jug’ for the irons…….lots of stuff that I seem to constantly be reaching for.  My biggest challenge is remembering to put things back where they belong, so that I can find them when I need them!

Happy handy stuff!               Blessings, Peg

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for

Joey (kangaroo, that is)

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That’s what a baby kangaroo is called.  When the joeys are born, they crawl into the pouch on the front of their mother, where they live until they’re big enough to come out and jump around on their own.  Kangaroos are found mostly in Australia, but there are some in Papua New Guinea, and a few have been taken to New Zealand, Hawaii and Great Britain.

J is also for Judge and Jury.  Many quilting shows are ‘juried’, in other words, the quilts entered are like in a contest, and there are judges to determine the top quilts in the various categories at the show.  I’ve personally never been brave enough to enter a quilt in a juried show, or any show for that matter, but I certainly enjoy going to shows and seeing the talent and artistry of other quilters.  In Canada there’s a national quilt show (Quilt Canada) every second year, and I aspire to attending one some day.  In the in between years, there may be provincial quilt shows – and this year Quilt BC is happening at Penticton, May 16-18.  And I actually happen to know somebody who’s had a quilt accepted for the juried show, Renata at A Loose Bobbin announced her acceptance back in February.  And we’re able to plan a short trailer trip to include that weekend in Penticton – I can hardly wait to see Renata’s quilt!

Happy quilt shows!          Blessings, Peg

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for

Iguana

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The iguana baby never meets its mother.  The mother lays eggs in warm sand, and just leaves it there, so the baby after it hatches has to figure out how to eat and walk and swim all by itself.  And iguanas do swim; they can stay underwater for up to 28 minutes!  But they like warmth, and if you have an iguana in a cage at home, they’re happiest with a heated rock to sleep on.

I is also for iron – probably the most necessary tool for a quilter after the sewing machine (well actually if a quilter wants to hand sew…..).  But every piece of fabric, every section of every block, every block, every section of every quilt….well, you get the picture….everything needs to be ironed.  I have 2 – a regular size iron for most of my pressing needs, and a small travel iron that is really handy beside the sewing machine for those quick shots to press down a seam so another seam can be sewn, to press back pieces when paper- or foundation-piecing. 

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Along with the little iron, I have a small portable pressing board that’s fabric on one side and non-stick on the other, helpful for using fusible web that’s not paper-backed.

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Happy ironing!          Blessings, Peg