MAGPIE'S MUMBLINGS

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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A bedtime story....

Ok, kiddies. Are you all tucked in and sleepy yet? I have to tell you a story.

In the beginning, there was my mother...a gardener who loved plants, both inside and out. However, woe betide any plant who had the audacity to bloom white. She was heartless and ruthless and tore them out by the roots. Evil, she was.

Along came a knight (he who married me) who, being of the chivalrous sort, thought perhaps the way to a mother-in-laws heart was to buy her a plant, each and every Christmas, and so it was that this became a tradition. Now this knight had a rather wicked sense of humour and decided one Christmas that a white plant would be perfect. A thing of beauty. Pristine. Who could resist a white Christmas cactus, after all?

So, the knight bought this lovely plant and wrapped it up tenderly. The mother, upon opening this wonderous gift, thanked him, through gritted teeth, and displayed his gift in the living room window for all to see. You see, she loved her son-in-law very much and wouldn't hurt his feelings.

Time passed. The plant grew, and blossomed. The daughter would receive phone call after phone call always prefaced with "You know that damn plant? Well, it's blooming again". Finally came the call saying she refused to water the thing ever again and she was determined that would be it's demise. Several months passed.

Then came the call..."You know that damn plant? Well, it's blooming again".

When my mother died, the only plant out of the dozens she had I kept was what will ever be known as "That Damn Plant". To this very day, it blooms. Proof is in the photo.

I love you Mom.
The end.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My bear came home!




Sorry about the no-post yesterday! I've been playing nursemaid to my dad who had minor surgery yesterday.
Last week my teddy bear round robin came home. I am so happy with her! My friends have done a wonderful job with so many fine details. Can't wait to finish her and get her put together. I'm hoping I can do that by the time our local quilt guild has their show in May. I've promised to do a demo on crazy quilting and would like to be able to take my bear as a mascot. I'm keeping my fingers crossed anyway.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A complete TAH DAH!


Remember me showing you one completed sock last week? Well, guess what, I have another one to match! And, wonder of wonders, I have cast on for another pair in the same colourway. Be still my beating heart! Actually I had high hopes of starting a pair in my wonderful new sock yarn, but I feel sorry for Jack. Initially I gave this pair to him, which he was happy about, but then decided they were just a bit too short for his foot (which made ME happy, because I'd made them for me in the first place!). Now, to be a good wife, I suppose I should take pity on him and actually make him a pair that fits.
I'm also struggling with making a pair of those Fibre Trend clogs that everyone is talking about. Struggle being a key word in the equation, believe me. First problem is that I have to use circular needles which, being new, are quite stubbornly resisting my efforts to get them to straighten. I finally got my first row cast on and the first row knit. THEN I started to read the instructions for row 2!!! Talk about techno-babble. However, I am refusing to admit defeat and am determined to win out on this one. It is, quite simply put, the last (I repeat, last) time I will ever believe an accomplished knitter when they say a pattern is easy!! If this is easy, I'd sure hate to see what they class as being hard.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hush Hush Project...Revealed







Remember my telling you a couple of weeks ago about projects I was working on that were being kept secret? Well, here they are! I made my boys each a memory album filled with pictures and memorabilia from their lives while they were at home and gave them to them for their birthdays this month. I just used common 3-ring binders, which I covered with some of the denim from my 'stash'. I used a couple of my 'stash' pockets and embroidered their names on the fronts. The back of the books have the logos for their favourite hockey teams (courtesy of Dollar Store paper napkins which I printed onto fabric using my computer). They seemed pleased with their gifts, so I guess it was worth three weeks of my time!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

TAST - Week 8


This week Sharon's challenge is the Fly Stitch, which is one that is pretty adaptable for a lot of purposes. I enjoyed playing with this!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hmm...

I have nothing to show you today, other than more of what I was doing yesterday, which I'm sure has gotten stale already. So...I found this: http://arleebarr.squarespace.com/designjournal/ Look for her entry titled "In the Spirit of Sharing"

I have to admit I love this challenge! How often do we do our best art work for others and never do anything for ourselves? Read Arlee's challenge and see what you think!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Progress on latest UFO


I think this is a pretty horrible picture, but won't be sure until it publishes on the blog. Hopefully you can see it! I've done all the seams in my favourite stitch - the cretan, using some lovely silk thread I had in my stash. Now I'm in the process of beading each seam, using some off-white pearl beads (from the dollar store). I don't think I'm going to do too much more to it after I've finished the beading, because my stash doesn't yield up too much in the limited colour palette I'm working with. I'm pretty happy about that actually, because in this case I think less is more. If you click on the picture, hopefully it will enlarge and you can see the detail better.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Another UFO in the works




The pile of 'stuff' in one of these pictures shows the beginnings of another UFO I had lurking in my to-do box. This time it's material from a friends wedding and bridesmaid dresses waiting to be made into something. Picture two shows what I've done so far. As you can see it will be a crazy quilt (again!), approx. 16" square. If you're wondering, the largish white section at the upper right will be ultimately holding a copy of their wedding invitation, which you can see a segment of in the other picture. I'm not sure yet how I will put it on. Options include running it off onto fabric through the computer printer (or) making a sleeve for the paper copy of the invite and attaching it that way. Jury is out, but I'm leaning towards the sleeve at the present moment. Subject to change, of course! I will keep posting my progress.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Tah Dah!


Well actually it's only half a tah dah, because it's only one sock, but hey I need to celebrate when I get something completed even if it IS only one sock! What's even more astounding is that it actually fits!! Now, before I get too egotistical, I guess I'd better cast on the second one....

Thursday, February 15, 2007

TAST - Feather Stitch

I have discovered something about feather stitch - that it's much harder to draw than it is to actually do with needle and thread! Graph paper helps, but I have to apologize if some of
the 'stitches' I've drawn look a little bit wobbly.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day and sock yarn

Another picture I discovered that I had forgotten to post...sock yarn! Fell in like with this in a yarn shop a couple of weeks ago. It's sooo pretty! There's a constant thread of black with the colours wrapped around it. Can't wait to see what it looks like in socks.

Really do wish I could show you what I'm working on at the moment, but until it goes to the person(s), I can't. I will take pictures to post later though.

In the meantime, Happy Valentine's Day!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Crochet hook case....




The pictures today are of a felted crochet hook case Kym made me for Christmas. Of course I have far too many hooks in it already! I've been using a very old ( probably 35 years old!) plastic case which has seen better days, so I was delighted to get this. I meant to post a picture sooner. Thanks Kym!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

It's not my fault!

I'm blaming Sue for this. She had to tell me that there was a new shipment of rubber stamps in at the dollar store. I went, I saw, and I parted with an obscene amount of money on these (but not as obscene as it would have been had I bought them at Michaels or one of the stamp companies). Do I need more rubber stamps? Particularly after I just was at a Stampin' Up party at Sue's (yes, the same Sue) a week or so ago and parted with a VERY obscene amount of money there too!! I can't help it...I'm weak....

Friday, February 09, 2007

TAST - week 6


This week our challenge stitch is the Algerian Eye Stitch and Sharon said she "bet(s) people take a one look at this and run a mile". I must admit I thought about doing just that at first, but once I sat down to play with possibilities, I had fun with it. Have to admit it's a stitch I have never done, but now I certainly plan to!
Sharon posts links to many of the participants on the weekends, so if you check her blog then you can find all sorts of information and great blogs to check out. (www.inaminuteago.com/blog)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A few interesting blogs for you to check out

Today, since I have no pictures ready, I'm giving you a few new blogs/sites I've discovered in the past while. Maybe you'd like to check them out.

http://joepogan.com takes junk art to the extreme and makes the most fascinating sculptures from 'found' objects. Well worth checking out!

www.aisling.net/journals.htm is for anyone interested in art journals, plus there's a lot of other things on her site as well.

http://theartfulmama.blogspot.com
http://www.artjunk.typepad.com
http://alteredbelly.blogspot.com

All three of the above are blogs primarily devoted to altered and college art.

http://alliesinstitches.blogspot.com is Allison Aller's new blog, which is a continuation of her old site which was so badly spammed. Love her stitchery!

http://www.askthecrafter.blogspot.com I think I mentioned this one before, but it's worth a reminder. All sorts of experts answer crafting/art questions on this blog on pretty much any subject.

http://kerismith.com/blog is another interesting one. Right now she is creating a piece of art a day from found objects. She also has a new book about to be published.

There, hope you enjoy your surfing!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Another Book Review

Yes, you're getting another book review today because right now I'm working on something I can't show because the person it's for reads this blog (sometimes). This book is another of my favourites for crazy quilting. There are all sorts of motifs to use for embellishing in this book, along with good information on things like shadow work, samplers, tambour work, trapunto, whitework and embroidering with wool.


Specs: 'Motifs For Crazy Quilting', by J. Marsha Michler, published by Krause Publications; c2002, ISBN: 0-87349-427-X

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Jann-tastique!

I know, the picture is dark, but so were the surroundings. Rest assured, this IS Jann Arden and she was absolutely wonderful. She is every bit as personable as I had been led to believe (she has a wicked sense of humour!). She sang several of her hits and did several of the new songs on her latest album which is being released today. She answered questions from the audience, she sang, she talked about her life, she was totally charming. Her band is excellent. What else can I say?

Her new album is great and I encourage anyone who likes Jann to hurry and buy it. It's a 'cover' album primarily where she covers songs by other artists (ie 'Peace Train' , which was a hit by Cat Stevens originally). It appears that the first radio release from the album will be 'At Seventeen', originally done by Janis Ian.

If you're interested in Jann, she has a web site www.jannarden.com and she'll be appearing at Massey Hall April 24, 25, 26. I'd love to go!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Happy Dance!

I won, I won, I won! Now please keep your fingers, toes, and everything you own crossed that Monday we have good weather.


What did I win, you say? I quote: "Contratulations! You have won a double guest pass to the exclusive CHFI "Up Close & Personal with Jann Arden"...this coming Monday February 5th at 7 pm!!! It's going to be a fabulous night with Jann performing songs from her upcoming album "Uncover Me" which will be released the following day. For being a lucky winnter, you will receive a copy of the CD on the night of the concert....before they're even available in stores!"


Do I like Jann Arden?...YES! Am I excited about getting to see her in a really small venue?....YES! If you want to hear what we'll be seeing listen to CHFI on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. where the concert will be re-broadcast. In the meantime, hope for good weather!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

TAST - Week 5 - Chevron Stitch


Here's my 'homework' for week 5 of the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge. Hopefully I can figure out the RSS feed 'thing' and have this go to Sharon!
At first I wasn't too sure about the chevron stitch. It is one I like normally, but to come up with many variations was a challenge for some reason. Once I got started, it wasn't as difficult as I had expected!
Anyone interested in knowing more about the challenge can go to http://inaminuteago.com/blog/index.php/take-a-stitch-tuesday-challenge/ or follow the link in my sidebar. Also, if you ever need to know how to do a stitch or are looking for inspiration Sharon has the most comprehensive stitch dictionary anywhere, which you can access simply by going to http://inaminuteago.com and looking for her stitch dictionary.