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.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A day...for sanity


Jack and I quite often take a day and just skip town (we call it a 'sanity' day). We started doing that when the kids were both in school, just to get away from normal everyday 'stuff'. Today we took at drive down to Cobourg, which is on Lake Ontario. It's a lovely place with lots of beautiful old houses and a lovely beach. We walked along the waterfront and out onto this breakwater. That's Lake Ontario! The other picture shows some of the sailboats that were in the small harbor.

We had a wonderful, peaceful and scenic day and can't wait for the next one!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Creative? HAH!!

How can anybody be expected to be creative working in this total mess?? Please note....I didn't take a photo of what's surrounding me on the floor! In a perfect world I'd have a 'putter-away-er' that just quietly whisked things away so that I could manage to find them when I wanted them. Oh, and maybe bring me coffee and bonbons too. ahhhhh.......

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I tried.....

.....to take a picture of some dust to go along with this post, but unfortunately I couldn't find any in my house (and if you believe that there's no hope for YOUR sanity).

Anyhoo...son #2 sent me this link last night and I was totally blown away. Scott Wade is an incredible artist and just wait until you check out what HE can do with dust!!! Enjoy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Scent x Two!

Look at the lovely smelling bar of hand made soap that arrived in the mail last week from Yvonne! It's lavender and eucalyptus scent and it smells absolutely divine. Thank you SO much Yvonne!!

From the sublime, to the earthy.....
I couldn't resist taking the above picture!

This is Jack's crop of garlic all ready to dry and store for winter. He certainly had a bumper crop this year! No, we don't eat ALL of it ourselves...we share with our sons and a couple of friends who also love garlic. This is powerful stuff...each clove is huge and extremely strongly flavoured so a little goes a long way.

As I said, scent, times two!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Award, owls, and transferring

How's that for an interesting title for a post? First of all, I've been given an award from Dolores of True Blue Canadian! There's a picture I could put on here to show you, but that's beyond my brain-power with computer-eze...so....instead I will let you read about it:

"The KARMA AWARD: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kinds of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to some bloggers who may choose more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Wow! Isn't that nice? Now I have to get out my dictionery to find out what 'aggrandizement' means! Thank you so much Dolores! I think, at this point, I'm supposed to send this award on to a few other people, but do you know what? I'm going to nominate ALL my readers! Your comments and support are what keeps me blogging!!

The following two things were found via 'Craft Gossip' and I just had to point them out to you. First, check out what Ann Wood is showing on her blog. I want one!!

Also, be sure to check out the tutorial on Julia's Place for using Press n Seal for transfer embroidery patterns. I like this idea and can't wait to try it out.

Finally, the picture above is what I see when I open the bedroom curtain each morning. I love poppies, so it's *almost* enough to make me want to get out of bed in the morning ;D

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Two CQ's (CQTeers and CQOnline)...and...birthdays

Birthday presents!
Lucky me to be the recipient of all the treasures shown above! Today was our CQTeer meeting and I got some pretty kewl prezzies from my friends! Irene knows I like cats, so she went with a cat theme - the wonderful pieced cat (which I intend to frame) and a cute little cat atc/birthday card, both of which came wrapped in the fun piece of cat fabric. Kym made me a pair of beeswax candles, the knitted poppy, and a wonderful fabric basket - along with some cute paper clips. Thank you Kym and Irene! I'm a pretty lucky girl.

ATC Swap from the CQTeers
Our theme this month was outer space. The top two are by Irene...extreme outer space. Lots of texture! Kym made the middle two, with a cartoon character outer space theme. The one I made commemorated the anniversary of man walking on the moon, which also happened this week (July 20, 1969).

Below is what came in the mail today from Mary Corbet....just feast your eyes on this haul of wonderful fibery goodness!! I was an extremely lucky winner to receive some of Mary's generosity and now I can't wait to play with my new goodies. Thank you SO much Mary!!
Finally, the new issue of CQMagOnline is up for your reading pleasure. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but I know that it will be great!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Butter Tarts by Jack

Here you go....the recipe for Butter Tarts....

The recipe makes approx 48 tarts. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pastry:
8 cups cake & pastry flour
2 2/3 cups margarine (the hard kind, not the stuff that's whipped)
approx. 12 -16 tablespoons of ice water
Cut margarine into the flour until well blended. Add water until it reaches pastry consistency (note from MA...I haven't a CLUE what he means by that...I'd just buy pre-made tart shells!!). Roll out and cut. (he uses an empty l L juice can as a cutter). Line tin muffin cups with the paper cups you can get for muffins (the large size) - otherwise the filling might leak through the pastry and they stick to the pan.

Filling:
6 cups brown sugar
6 eggs, beaten
scant 1 1/3 cups of milk
6 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups melted butter (or margarine)
raisins (or pecans)
Combine all but the raisins. Place a few raisins (or pecans) into the pastry lined muffin cups. Fill about 2/3's full with the filling. Place in 375 degree oven for 8 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue cooking til lightly browned. Let cool approx. 1/2 hr before removing from pans.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reports?

Yes, the reports that are circulating about my death, dismemberment, incarceration, kidnapping, and being buried in cement by my jealous husband are greatly exaggerated. Just thought you might want to have the record set straight.

I will return. Talk amongst yourselves. Be kind.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Butter tarts...and....more Crazy Quilting

Here is about half of the butter tarts Jack baked in the past couple of days. We have a family reunion (his) here on Sunday so these will be part of the desserts we will have. It's a potluck so there'll be lots of goodies to tempt us.

I've been following the blog at Don't Call Me Crafty and am constantly delighted with her crazy quilting. You might want to have a look at some of her eye candy!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Crazy Quilting content? Gasp!

It seems like forever since I talked about anything remotely involving crazy quilting. Since my creative efforts have been practically nil in the past week or so, I have no pictures to show you.

However, if you are interested in crazy quilting, I have this to show you... please visit Janet Stauffacher's Nostalgic Needleart blog where you will find the latest in her series of free crazy quilt block patterns. She now has 20 available for you to print directly onto fabric and then use as your foundation. She has very generously been sharing some of her vintage postcard images in each block. I am strongly tempted to start a quilt using these blocks!

Monday, July 13, 2009

More garden 'stuff'...and SharonB's back!

This is part of our veggie garden. The potatoes have huge tops...just hope there's hugeness going on under the ground too! In a couple of weeks we will test them out. Can't wait!
You can see the garlic is growing really well! Good thing we like garlic (and so do our friends) because Jack grows a lot of it.

And this is Henry, an extremely heavy garden statue who overlooks things and instructs them to grow. To the right you can see the few milkweed plants we have (trying to keep them under the 'radar' of the weed police in the area...they're classed as a noxious weed and are frowned upon). We live in hope that a monarch butterfly will chose our plants, but no luck so far. It just plain makes me cross that the local authorities are so against these plants, because destroying them means the decline of the monarchs. At least we're trying to do our little part to keep them alive!

SharonB has asked that we spread the word that she's back and posting again. We're glad to have her back because we missed her!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Catalpa blooms

This is just one clump of the blooms on our catalpa tree. They remind me so much of orchids. The tree will have long brown seed pods in the fall, most of which will cling to the tree over the winter.
My husband tried unsuccessfully to start a catalpa until he realized that, if left to Mother Nature, the seed pods would be frozen over the winter. Once he placed a seed pod in the freezer and then planted the seeds, they grew quite easily. (Each pod has a large number of seeds, not just one). It has now grown into a lovely shade tree in our front yard.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Great summer giveaway at Two Creative Studios!

You might want to enter the latest giveaway that Sue and Terri of TwoCreativeStudios are doing on their site! Be sure to sign up for their newsletter here, and while you're at their site please check into their free projects section. They are really generous with their talents and have some pretty great tutorials to look at.

They also offer on-line courses and are constantly coming up with new things to teach us. While you're there, be sure to have a look at what they have on offer.

The life of riley...or in this case Mitzy

Here's our 13 year old cat reclining on the sofa in the sunroom. The only reason the sofa is the place of choice is because there doesn't happen to be a handy lap to perch upon!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Dolls - of the antique sort

Here are my three antique dolls. Unfortunately I don't know very much about any of them. The above fellow is, I think, made of composition and was given to me by one of my elderly customers from when I was selling Avon a number of years ago. She is in her mid-eighties and said she had this doll when she was a little girl. I didn't want her to give it to me and felt it should be kept in her family. She said her daughters and grandaughters had absolutely no interest in dolls and would just throw him out. I was horrified and promised to give him a good home. I must get busy and make him some clothes!!
The doll on the left is one that I kept admiring in our local second hand/antique store. I looked at her every time I went in and finally decided that I had to fork over the money so she would have a home. Her head looks to be porcelain and her body seems to be paper wrapped around wire. Her legs are paper too, but the insides feel to maybe be pieces of straw or very thin wood. Her clothes are very crudely made from a material that might be felt. The beaded 'flowers' are a puzzle because I'm not sure if they are original to the doll or something that was added much later. They seem to be wired directly to her hand, so I assume they might be original.

I can't remember where I got the other wee doll. She isn't porcelain, and reminds me of some sort of really solid chalk. Her legs have fallen off (but I do have them). I think her little outfit must be original (including a tiny little pair of panties). Really wish I could find out more about all three of these dolls!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Doll Nostalgia continues

This is my other 'old' doll, which I received the same Christmas as the one I showed yesterday. My bachelor uncle gave this one to me (never expected he would even think to buy a little girl a doll, but he did. I think that's mostly why I treasure her). This is her original dress, but I have long since misplaced her underwear, shoes and her hat. You can see she has a 'broken' arm (which I took to a supposed restorer, who did an AWFUL job). She is all soft vinyl, which is really starting to deteriorate.
Below is my treasure, old and tattered tho he may be. He was once a pajama holder & has a zipper in his bottom. I never store pjs in him - he held little pieces of paper with all my childish writings and treasures. He is totally threadbare and his stuffing is falling out. Some of it has been replaced by my mother with old nylon stockings (no, they aren't panty hose!).
I remember my aunt giving me what she thought would be a replacement Lassie, but I couldn't bring myself to love it. This poor fellow was my bedtime huggee for years and I still can't bear to part with him. Funny thing about memories.

UPDATED TO ADD: You have to read the quote on Paula's blog today! It's one that will certainly made you think. Please read it!!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Yes, I'm that old!

Here's Kyra whispering secrets with my old (over 50 years) doll. Yvonne had posted a picture of her childhood doll and I immediately recognized her as being the same as mine! Neither one of us can remember the name of our doll and I don't think there are really any identifying marks. I've looked through a number of doll pricing books and haven't been able to find her. I suspect that she was purchased through mail order...perhaps Eaton's? Somehow, over the years, I've managed to lose her original clothing.

Further on the subject, has anyone had any experience with the vinyl on old dolls becoming 'sticky'?? Her face is the problem (her body seems to be made with the different..harder..material). Any ideas?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Kyra is here!!

The first doll from the Art Doll Coolaberation 2009 has arrived and is visiting with my dolls and trying to decide what she would like to do first. Above she is visiting with Doll-E-Pardon. She likes the nice lawn chair out in the sun, but she's not quite sure about getting too cozy with someone who is quite obviously a floozy of the first degree. Reputations do get around you know. Hmmm.....
Well, maybe she would like to take a swim with the mermaid. Then again, she doesn't have a bathing suit and some eyes would be good so she could see underwater (otherwise she might get tangled in seaweed). Hmmmm.....
Maybe she might like to sit and rock on the front porch and just watch the world go by. Oh...that won't work you say? Oh yes, she still has no eyes.

Decisions, decisions....

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Studio Storage

If you are interested in storage ideas for your studio, you might want to take part in this. Fabric Quilt Studio is showcasing studios and the methods we use for storage this month. I'm an organization-junkie, so this is something I find hugely fun. (found via http://debraspinicdesignstudio.blogspot.com).

The picture shown above shows some of my storage (including the mess on the shelf that I just noticed now...oops!). These containers were a dollar each at the local $ store, cheap and functional. I can't remember where I got the ugly pink labels, but I have a humongous roll of them. I know I wouldn't have paid good money for them, so they must have been a freebie somehow. The two boxes labeled 'Paper' on the top shelf were another type the dollar store had. The red plastic mesh container (guess where it came from) holds scraps of paper. A recycled shoe box holds my collection of stickers.

Above is one of my shelves of denim 'bits'. I finally realized that it was unwise to save entire pairs of jeans because they simply take up too much space. Over a period of time I managed to cut away all the unusable bits, leaving me with a lot less to store. (You can just see a corner of the knitted denim...fabric...bag I made a few years ago).
This picture shows part of an old cabinet I picked up at a yard sale for probably less than five bucks. There are glass doors on the top part inside of which I store my bead collection. The shiny silver 'things' on the top shelf hold my small beads (the picture below shows one of them open). Below that are yet more dollar store containers which hold the larger beads, most sorted according to colour and some according to theme.

This is where I store most of my fabric. Because I am mainly a crazy quilter, I don't have a huge stash of fabric in large pieces. Again, I have sorted most of it according to colour so that things are easier to find. This dresser is also a yard sale find. On top you can just see the bottom drawer of a 3-drawer plastic storage thing. The top two drawers are currently holding my balls of yarn (but will soon have to move because they're outgrowing their space).

Any fabric yardage I have is either stored on the same shelving unit as the denim or on the bottom shelf of the unit in the first picture. I also keep my muslin, cotton, and other fabrics I use for foundations in an old suitcase (if I remember rightly...ten whole cents at a yard sale). Another three drawer yard sale find holds my doll making supplies in the top drawer and the bottom two hold my paper crafting supplies. I don't scrapbook per se, but still use paper in a lot of my work.

All these pictures are clickable if you think you can stand it!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Birthday to Canada!

I don't have a picture for you today, but I do have some fun news to report. My friend Marie Alton has an article in the newest issue of A Needle Pulling Thread magazine AND her work made the cover too!! Go and have a look at what Marie does and while you're there check out what else is coming in the magazine too. This is one of my favourites because of the wide variety of topics and patterns they share AND it's Canadian too and is published not to far from here. I can't wait for my issue to arrive in the mail!

If you haven't been keeping up with the work that Susan Lenz is showing on her blog, please check it out! She has finished another of her stained glass pieces and it is spectacular. While you're there have a look at her Decision Portrait Series (found in her sidebar)...be sure to scroll down to see her finished pieces. Her work is amazing.

While you're checking out links, another one I love is Jude. She has a wonderful article about her work in the new issue of 'Art Quilting Studio' published by Somerset. I bought a copy just so I could read it.

And, finally, Allison Aller is doing something incredible again! Do go and have a look at what she's working on!