A blog about my interests, which include crazy quilting and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Boring, boring, B-O-R-Ing!!!!

Yep, the title says it all!  Not a thing happening here at Chez Magpie that's even worth talking about.  There's another (currently nekkid) doll in the works but that's boring to see.  

So, for lack of something creative to show, how about pictures of my sons and grandsons?  

Above is #1 son and his son and below is #2 son and his son.

The first picture was taken on the weekend when we took #1 grandson to the zoo.  Second picture was one I snagged from facebook.  

- I stumbled across THIS blog and spent quite a bit of time going back through a lot of the posts.  Talk about eye candy overload - and all different types of subject matter too!

- Sometimes the vintage patterns are the best and THIS sweater set for a little one is a great example.

- If you like log cabin quilts there are tons of setting ideas HERE.

- If you happen to be looking for an easy knit sweater that looks comfie and stylish, how about THIS one?

- For the crazy quilters among us, perhaps you might like to have fun with a Halloween pattern from HERE.

- If you happen to be a fan of the 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine (and you are....right?) you might be interested in checking out the new facebook group being run by Karen South.  You can find out more by reading Pam's post HERE.  

Today your quote is from Terry Pratchett...."Human beings make life so interesting.  Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom?"

Friday, August 11, 2017

She's finished! And an update

This is #1 of what I plan to be four rag dolls....

As I mentioned previously, she's created from several different patterns as well as some parts that have been pulled out of my head.  I'm still not overly pleased with the design so the next one will change again.  My original pattern had pantaloons, a camisole AND a slip - this one has been pared down to just pantaloons (I did make the camisole & slip and decided they made her too bulky).  This one has both an underskirt and an overskirt - again too much.  The next one will have just one skirt.  The sleeves are too bulky too - and they will be downsized somewhat to make them a little more manageable.  My original doll had yarn hair - which was a complete and total PIA to make, quite truthfully.  I've tried her with curly yarn hair and with straight and none of them suit my requirement of playability (and yes, I know that's not a proper word!!).  This one has felt hair which is glued on and is quite a bit safer for curious little fingers.  The next thing is to re-do her facial features.  Stay tuned - there will be more!!

And....look at what appeared in my sewing room doorway just a few minutes ago!!  

Coconut cream pie!!

Further on the sewing machine front - I took it back to the store for a service call yesterday and am, at least so far, pleased with the outcome.  It has gone from sounding akin to a threshing machine to almost purring.  Who knew?  The girls in the store had quite a laugh over the expression on my face when I first tested it out.  I had gotten used to the various clunks and thumps and growls and was quite astounded that it could sound so quiet!  Now I'm in the process of testing it at home and will be giving it a workout over the next couple of weeks to be sure everything is working as it should.  Phew!!

- THIS is a really interesting pattern for a quilt block.  Not that I'm a sane quilter, but I know some of you are!

- THIS fits under the 'awwwww' category!

- Never let it be said that this blogger fears ANY subject - so - how about making one of THESE for your bathroom?    I actually have one of these that I bought many years ago and it's invaluable!

- Wish I had known about  THIS when I was heavily into working with recycled denim!

Today your quote is from the Dalai Lama..."There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done.  One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live"

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Not quite nekkid!

Having a sewing machine that won't do anything but straight stitch rather limits my creative endeavors so I had to cast about for something to work on.  I've been toying with making a doll (or three...maybe four) and this is as far as I got yesterday...

As I said - not quite naked, but close!
Here you see her sporting her camisole and bloomers.

And below she has her slip...

All created from stash findings (bonus!)

Unfortunately I can't share the pattern source but suffice to say it's a cobbled-together one
that originated probably about 30 years ago.  Some parts were from a McCall's pattern,
some were from a Butterick pattern, and some out of my head.
Each time I make her more of her comes out of my head!

....and before you ask, no, I'm not making any announcements about any new grand babies in the picture!  This one is for my friend who has a wee granddaughter just the right age for a rag doll.  I have two more friends who also have granddaughters that will probably get one too.  Just for the sheer fun of making them!

- THIS falls under the stash busting/gift giving title.  With 'That-Day-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named' approaching faster than any of us would like, perhaps you might like to make one (or several).

- And HERE's another great gift idea too!  And another one HERE.  And how about THIS?  And THIS one might be handy for a guy (or a girl!) who jogs or runs.

- Further on the doll theme - perhaps you'd like to make one of THESE for a little girl and her doll?

- Pam Kellogg has released the latest in her cross stitch pattern series and you can find more about that HERE.  And she's also continuing her free  Never Sending Sampler series and you can see the latest patterns HERE.  

Today your quote is from an anonymous source...  "Things money can't buy....manners, morals, respect, character, common sense, trust, patience, class, integrity, and love"

Monday, August 07, 2017

Something a little different

Over the weekend I played with some of my now almost-defunct denim stash and made a couple of the little hats for our grandsons from the link I gave you  a day or so ago.  Pictures aren't great, but I think they turned out rather cute.

They're reversible - with denim on the outside and some green cotton from my stash on the inside.  Pattern is the 'Reversible Bucket Hat' from HERE.

- Oh wow!  Karen Ruane has just announced her amazing new online venture and it's a doozy!  An entire year of playing and learning with her (along with the rest of the participants).  It's a not-to-be-missed opportunity, so go HERE and HERE to learn more.

- If you like turtles and pincushions, perhaps you might like one of THESE living in your sewing room.

- There's a really pretty idea for a bag HERE.  The pattern for the bag itself isn't there, but there are tons of free patterns out there that could easily be adapted.

- Tutorial HERE for making a really cute sock monkey.

- If you'd like to try making your own patina mixes, have a look at the post HERE.

- Does your jaw need some exercise (as it drops open in amazement?), then have a look at THIS.

Today, instead of a quote, I have a poem to share with you...


The Soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills just got too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

Author Unknown

Thursday, August 03, 2017


Since absolutely NO stitching has been happening here at Chez Magpie, there will be no pictures to share. 

I know -
boring, right?

No knitting.
No crocheting.
No stitching.

I am going c-r-a-z-y!!!!

Does this mean that (horrors)
I have to CLEAN???

To bring you up to date on the ongoing saga about the sewing machine....I spent a large part of yesterday emailing back and forth (and on the phone too) with a lovely lady from Bernina head office.  More experiments with the machine, accompanied by much photo taking and sharing, has led to the consensus being that there is something off kilter with the lower tension.  (Could have told them that from the get-go, but anyhoo....).

Turns out that the store where I bought it should have given it a full service before they sold it, which didn't happen for whatever reason.  I bought, at a very reduced price, the demo model they had in the store - accompanied, thankfully, by a full warranty.  As of this moment I will be toting it back to the store next Thursday (what am I going to DO in the meantime???????!!!!) bright and early in the morning so that the repair guy can do the proper service and make the adjustments to the tension, which will (fingers crossed) rectify things.  I will bring it home and give it a VERY thorough run and, if things aren't right I will be heading back to the store to demand a refund or a replacement machine.  They have also promised to have an 'education' representative on hand to go over all the fine details on the machine with me to be sure I fully understand it (not necessary, but a nice additional touch).  Not only that, but the Bernina person also said she would be more than happy to meet me at the store and run interference with them should the need arise.  Not necessary, but lovely of her to offer. 

Out of all of this I have to say that I have nothing against Bernina per se - I think this machine, if working properly, would be more than adequate for anything I need.  I was happy to be assured by the rep that they, as policy, keep replacement parts for all discontinued machines available for at least 20 years.  That was good to know.  The company rep made me feel validated and completely understood the issues and assured me that none of this was my fault - I was fully prepared to have to go into battle and that was definitely not the case.  

So far, so good.  Stay tuned for further chapters in the ongoing saga!!

So, now how about some mumblings?

- If you have little ones in your life, perhaps you'd like to make them some of THESE hats.  I'm looking in my stash to see what might be usable so I can make one for each of our grandsons.

- I've been searching for some knitting patterns to perhaps create between now and that not-to-be-yet-mentioned day in December.  Found THIS one for our oldest 'grand'  and THIS one for our youngest.  And THIS one would be fun for the women in the family perhaps.

- If there's a little girl in your life, THIS would be so cute!

- There doesn't seem to be a specific tutorial on how to make THIS, but it's easily done I think.  Now to remember to save the cardboard rolls!

Today your quote is from another anonymous source..."The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about"

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Just mumbling today

I was away most of the day yesterday and much of today too, so not much done on the stitching front beyond trying a few more ideas to try to wrestle my sewing machine into submission.  More dismal failures and I know you have NO interest in seeing those!!  

On the bright side, I did receive a call from a person in the 'education' department at Bernina.  Of course I wasn't home when she called, but at least we're trying to connect.  Remains to be seen if she has any good ideas to fix my issues.  If not, I may have to scuttle my whole plan of trying to create barns and give up on any type of free motion work (or working with mono thread).  Not what I want to do, but buying yet another sewing machine is definitely not in my budget.  

- The fall issue of 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' is now available!!  It's another great issue (and I'm not just saying that because my 'Courtship' project is in there! ).  You can get your copy either HERE at MagCloud or HERE at Etsy.

- Mary Corbet has announced the release of her brand new e-book called 'Will Ewe Bee Mine?' -filled with wonderful monograms and patterns.  Go HERE to find out more.

- Another of my on-line friends (Susan Leschke) has some absolutely adorable stitching patterns available.  Go HERE to see!

- And another of my friends (Suzy Quaife) has a great online class available for making her absolutely gorgeous fabric and lace books.  Right now the class is on sale so hurry over HERE to find out more about 'Peaceful and Pondering Fabric Lace Books'.  And if you want to see more of her work, she blogs HERE.

- If you enjoy working with beads and like owls, perhaps you'd like to try your hand at creating one (or more!) of THESE.

Today the quote is from an anonymous source..."One day or day one. You decide"

Monday, July 31, 2017

Bumbling along

Who knew?  I not only mumble but I bumble too!!  Just a woman of multi-talents, that's me.  

To explain....I've been working away on Barn #2 and decided I wasn't happy.  Not at all.  Quite perturbed actually.  It just plain didn't look right.  Of course not having taken any lessons in this form of art and having to rely on what tidbits I can glean from books and the internet makes it a lot more difficult.  Not having any training in art whatsoever is probably the biggest issue.


Here's what I've done so far and maybe (most likely!!) you can see what has me wondering...

The scene I'm attempting to use for inspiration is this one....

I'm limited in what I use for fabrics to what I have in my stash so that's part of the problem. you see the grass?  Can you see that it's a great big fat mound of yuck?  I wanted a field of grass and it looks like there's too much 'distance' to it - for lack of a better explanation.  It's too much.  

So I putzed a bit and laid some 
fabric over top to audition and came up
with this...

To my seriously un-trained eye I think it looks better.  It's no longer seeming to be the focal point.  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  


or should it be scuttled altogether?


- Although I would never create one of THESE, I have to admit it made me smile.

- In my quest to learn all I can about landscape quilting, I have found a wonderful blog and am slowly reading my way through every one of her posts.  THIS particular one definitely caught my eye and not because it's for landscapes.  She has an amazing tip for the sane quilters out there that have issues with deciding on quilt block arrangements and spend tons of time moving blocks about to settle on a layout..  Go see what she does (scroll down a bit in her post to see it).  Talk about inspired!!

- There's a really pretty crocheted shawl pattern available HERE.  Perfect for a wedding shawl I think.  And HERE's another wonderful one that would be a perfect stash buster.  Be sure to scroll down to see some of the different colourways.

- I love THIS one for all the versatile ways you can wear it.

Oh, and just for fun, how about a picture of DH's garlic crop?  Planted in a container on our balcony!

Today the quote is from Warren Buffet...."It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong"