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.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Now....what do you suppose.....

.....I'm up to now???

Well, you'll just have to wait and see!

Yesterday I posted pictures of the latest barn project and I can tell you now that I'm not happy with it.  And I do have a reason for that.  The barn itself, although it's the right shape and overall look for what I wanted,  the colour of it isn't.  I want fabric that's the colour of old weathered barnboard - the grey old look.  This one simply didn't do it for me.  The search is on for appropriately coloured (& preferably with a textured look that works) fabric and it's proving to be much harder than I thought it would be.  I don't mind adding some paint to make it look 'right' but I need to have a good base.  And I know someone is going to suggest I simply paint it from scratch and that's not something I can do - my creative genes don't lend themselves to that amount of 'art'.  And I know I 'could' dye some, but that's decidedly frowned upon....using communal washing machines in an apartment building for that sort of endeavor is a no-no....b'sides dye would just give one overall colour and not the look of texture that I'm wanting.  I know - I want too much, don't I!! 

- HERE's a great Christmas table runner pattern.  Or if you happen to like a more folk art style, how about THIS one.  And THIS one has a really different shape. 

- You might have to use the 'translate' feature for THIS, but isn't she cute?  

- You might find the information HERE about fully utilizing your quilter's rulers interesting.  All those marks on those rulers DO serve a purpose and the mystery is revealed!

- I don't know if THIS little tip for sewing vinyl or plastic actually works, but it might be worth trying.

Today, instead of a quote, how about a little laugh...

Monday, October 16, 2017


The latest barn project is complete!!  Well, complete except for the label for the back, which I will work on next.  

This piece measures approx. 14 x 25".

The inspiration photo I used


- If you have a little girl in your life, perhaps one of these beautiful nighties might be just the thing to make for her.

- Have a look at the amazing (small!!) embroideries in THIS article!

- Noticed THESE on Ravelry - not something I would ever think of tackling, but aren't they cute?

- Pam Kellogg has announced her new mystery cross-stitch Christmas stitch-a-long and you can find more information HERE.  

Today your quote is from an anonymous source once again..."Life is like a camera....focus on what's important; capture the good times; develop from the negatives; and if things don't work out, take another shot"

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Beans and Barns

I haven't shared a recipe with you in a long time so I thought I'd share what we had for supper last night.  The cooler fall days are here and this was mighty tasty (and easy to make according to the resident cook).


2 cans EACH of romano & black beans*
1 c. diced onion
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. maple-flavoured BBQ sauce**
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
1 lb. kielbasa sausage - chopped up

Spray bowl of slow cooker with vegetable spray.  Combine all except sausage which goes on top.  Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours.
* - you can use any combination of beans 
you like best
** - we like maple, but perhaps you'd 
prefer another flavour

There has been a bit more progress on the barn....

- You'd have to have a little bit of space for THIS but I think it's a great idea!

- THESE would make really nice gifts and so simple to create.

- If your house has a lot of doors off your hallway, perhaps creating some of these would be a fun addition to your decor.

- I can't find a source to give credit for THIS decor idea, but sharing it anyway.  If you know who did it, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

And here's another quote from Eeyore...."A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference"

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I'd like to say....grass is a'growin'....but...

....if I do, I can imagine how many 'hits' I'll be getting on my blog and most of them won't be of the desirable sort!!  

I have spent the entire afternoon putzing with the grass area for my barn.  I have auditioned a ton of possibilities, all of which have been...ahem....mowed.  I finally came up with this...

....and out of complete and total disgust with the whole thing, I have decided it's staying.  So there!!  Of course there's still embroidery to be added to hopefully blend it in more.  No matter what happens I am NOT changing it again!!!
(oh yeah - there WILL be leaves on the tree!)

- There's a cute little jack-o-lantern pattern HERE.  

- Most of you know how much I used to enjoy working with denim and all its offshoots, so you will understand why I find THESE fun!

- Kathy Shaw has written a great tutorial HERE about finishing crazy quilted hexagons.

- Yesterday I linked to some ideas for recycling old suitcases and I've come across another one I really like HERE.  Unfortunately I can't give proper credit for this one.  If anyone knows, please let me know!

Today your quote is from one of my very favourite characters...Eeyore...."A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

About microwaves, barns and potions

Now how's THAT for a perplexing blog post title?!!  

Today I went back to working on my latest barn project and have, yet again, re-done the grass area.  For some reason it simply will-not-work despite my best efforts.  I had replaced the 'grass' twice over already and was on the third re-do, which I didn't remember to take a picture of (sorry).  

Here's the first effort...

Too much grass.  It took over.  I hated it.

Here's effort # 2...

After I embroidered on it for awhile it decided it was too bright.  Too garish.  Too spring green-ish.

Effort #3 (or was it #4??)

Please note that picture would show at
least two days worth of embroidery!!

Enter the use of the microwave....and paint....and green food colouring (which, btw, has dyed my fingers green....all ready for Halloween!).....and tea.  Add a dab of this, and a dollop of that....oops....throw it out because it turned a yucky shade of dog-poop-brown. Start over.   Insert piece of eyelet lace and brew it for awhile.  Squeeze out (more green tinge to my hands), rinse and iron dry.  

All that, to end up with....

Effort #4 (or maybe 5, depending on your viewpoint)

One wonders.
Will there be an Effort #5???

- If you happen to have (or stumble across) an old suitcase, HERE's how you can re-do the inside.  And if you go HERE you can see tons of ideas of what you can do with it once you've done the inside!  Oh, and how about making one of THESE out of an old suitcase? (be sure to scroll down to see the finished project).  Or maybe one of THESE would be fun.

- There's a free tutorial HERE to make a triple-zippered pouch that has so many uses.

- If you'd like to make yourself (or one for a gift!)  a fun Chatelaine, have a look at the tutorial HERE   and if you want to see an absolutely beautiful example of a chatelaine have a look HERE.   And HERE is another great way to make one.

- If there's a baby on the way, perhaps you'd like to make one of THESE cute little diaper holders!

- HERE's a really nice little Christmas project perfect for stash busting!  And THIS is another great stash buster that would make a lovely gift.

Today your quote is from Albert Einstein..."Insanity:  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"

Monday, October 09, 2017

This is what procrastination does

Not that I could ever, by any stretch of the imagination, be accused of suffering from procrastination....ahem.  At least I finished a project over the weekend.  

I have been muttering for a long time about the holder I was using for my circular knitting needles and decided that it was time to create a new one that wouldn't require me to stuff so many into a small space.  This is what I came up with.  It's three times as wide as my former one, which was made from Butterick Pattern # B5006 (you can see the picture of the original pattern HERE on the lower right side).  I decided I would use the basic pattern but multiply it by three times as wide.  It took some finagling but I'm happy with what I came up with.

Here's the inside....

There are several 'pages', each rubber stamped with the needle size.  I ran into some difficulty with the stamping process and ended up with some 'ghosting' of the ink in places.  What to do?  Well, a dig into my stash unearthed a small flower stencil that, with some judicious placement, I used to cover most of it.  The rest I simply added some faux stitching lines to and called it a day.  

As for the procrastination...
I guess this means I need to now
get back to working on a barn!

- We watched one of those home reno shows on HGTV yesterday and they were using wooden pallets to cover a wall (not particularly attractive to my mind) which led me to wonder what else could be created with them.  Have a look HERE for some great ideas!

- There's a great article HERE for making straps for different types of bags.  

- HERE's a great idea for your fall decor...making pumpkins from sweater sleeves.

- There are lots of links HERE to free bag/purse/wallet patterns (three pages of them!).

This black 'blob' is a photo of our very full moon taken over the weekend.

Another quote from an anonymous source..."Two of the hardest tests in life:  The patience to wait for the right moment, and the courage to accept that you've waited for nothing"

Friday, October 06, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

This weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving (which is held at a different time to that of the United States).  There will be lots of turkey and trimmings consumed here!  We won't be seeing family so will be enjoying supper out with friends instead.  

With all that has been happening throughout the world, we have to give thanks for what we have...for our family, our friends, and for where we live.  So many others are going through such horrendous loss and hardship and we need to keep them in our prayers.  Be safe!

There has been some stitching accomplished - but pretty much equally as much reverse stitching too.  That's what I get for trying to change a pattern to suit my needs.  Hopefully there will be pictures on Monday.

- Kathy Shaw has announced a new stitch-a-long and rather than me telling you about it, here is the intro in her own words .... I'm going to begin stitching EVERY SEAM of my Crazy Quilting Volume III:  Fancy Seam Designs Book soon. I thought you might want to join in and stitch them yourself! I know a lot of my blog followers have purchased the book (thank you again!), so this may be the gentle nudge you have needed to get you going. :)    You can read more about it HERE.  

- I came across THIS today and was rather astounded at what they are asking for it.  Would that I could get that much for some of MY creations!!

- THIS is so cute! A good gift - a good use for scraps - would work as a gift card holder too I think.

- HERE's another great gift idea.

Your quote, once again, is from an anonymous source..."Be kind.  Be thoughtful.  Be genuine.  But most of all Be Thankful"

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Not much

Nope, not much happening here at Chez Magpie that could be classed as being anything more than yawn-worthy.  Things are being created but not a single one of them is in any state worth showing as these photos will attest...

This is the top of my cutting table...there's fabric there, waiting to be cut and some 'stuff on the back that needs to be stored somewhere....

This is the corner of the couch - three different projects-worth of yarns, waiting to be turned into something.

There's a lot of waiting happening here.  And I know you're also waiting - waiting for something even remotely interesting to occur here.  You might have a long wait!

-  Karen Ruane has announced a new 6-week class called 'Handkerchief Extras' that sounds like great fun....have a look HERE to find out more.

- I don't decorate for halloween, but if I did I would surely be tempted to scare the daylights out of trick or treaters with one of THESE.   Or maybe THIS one!

- the new issue of 'QUILTSocial' is out and you can read that HERE.

-  There's also another free online magazine for quilters and you can register for it HERE (there's also a Premium version that requires payment if you want to go that route).  The free version is quite interesting so you might like to check it out first.  (I have no affiliation with either of these, but thought I'd share in case you're interested).

Today the quote is another anonymous one..."Two of the hardest tests in life...The patience to wait for the right moment and the courage to accept that you've waited for nothing"

Friday, September 29, 2017

It does a grandma's heart good

 Pictures of my grandsons, although I guess I might have to wonder about the gene pool that requires one of them to wear his underpants on his head!  

The other picture is our youngest grandbaby 'reading' his cloth book I made for him.  

- HERE's a really cute fall project - would make great gifts too.  You could also use the designs from HERE if you'd like.

- If you know someone who likes aprons, perhaps one of THESE will make the perfect gift?

- I don't know if you have the issues I have with getting neat corners when you're putting binding on any size quilt, but if you do and would like to try a great method that actually seems to work, have a look HERE.

Today your quote is from 'Braveheart' ...."Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it"

Monday, September 25, 2017

Woof woof!

I finished the little doggie that is destined for the Christmas box and here he is....

Pattern can be found HERE.

We were traveling the back roads on the way home this afternoon and came across this wonderful barn (I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!) and I'm itching to try to create it in fabric.

I know it's in imminent danger of falling down and being gone.  It's so sad to see them being so neglected and I think that's why I find a certain amount of beauty that needs to be preserved.  

- It's fall here (despite the temperatures the past few days being like they should have been in mid-summer - today the car thermometer is registering 31 degrees Celsius!), and I happened across THESE pretty fall leaf coasters.

- There's a ton of great diy ideas HERE.

- HERE is a really nice cross-stitch fall themed design - would make a really nice biscornu I think.  And there's another cute fall design HERE.  And another one HERE.  

Today your quote is from an anonymous source once again..."If it doesn't open, it's not your door"

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Just some little yo-yo's

Yesterday was a sew day with two of my friends and I started creating the yo-yo's I would need in order to create THIS.  If it turns out okay, it will be another addition to my Christmas box.

This is a great stash-buster if nothing else!

- For those of you who enjoy creating your own yearly planner, perhaps you might like to check THIS one out.  

- HERE's another cute pumpkin pincushion (or it would be nice for your fall decor too).

- Pam Kellogg has a post HERE that gives an overview of the fun things she has that are ongoing through her blog.  

- Mary Corbet has a great post HERE that talks about the things she feels are essential in her embroidery workroom. How I'd love to see it in person!   And while I was reading Mary's blog I noticed she has a link to an adorable embroidered bear with great info on stitching can see that HERE.  

Today your quote is from an anonymous source..."Never forget that time passes so quickly you don't even notice it until it begins to show.  So use the good china, go on the trip, eat the cake, watch the late movie, read your favourite book and take a chance in life.  Tomorrow is promised for no one....pass it on...."

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Twenty Two!!!!

And no, I'm NOT referring to my age!!  Instead, I'm talking about completing twenty-two Christmas ornaments that are headed for my gift box.  See?.....

- If there's a little one in your life and you'd like to make them something fun, have a look at all the free patterns HERE.  I have my eye on the yo-yo dog!  (there are four pages to look at!!).  Updated to add - yo-yo dog is underway!

- I may have given you THIS link before, but even if I have it's cute enough to see a second time!

- There are a number of free cross stitch patterns available HERE.

- HERE is where you can find good tips to keep your self-healing mat in tip-top shape.

- Oh my goodness - I WANT one of THESE!!!!!!

- HERE's a nice tote bag pattern and there's another one HERE.  

I haven't given you one of Ralph Waldo Emerson's great quotes for awhile...."The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be"

Monday, September 18, 2017

In which mumbling is all I got

Today we're off to visit our #1 son and his family so there will be no stitching.  I know - hard choice, right?  So....because I haven't done anything over the weekend that is worthy of showing you a photo, there are a few things I've come across that you might find interesting....

- Some of you might be planning to play along with the Crazy Quilt Quarterly's 'Swap Your Mini's - ATC's Crazy Quilt Style'  and my friend Renee has posted  three tutorials on making crazy quilted atc's.    Go HERE for part one which shows you how to create the background;  HERE for part two which talks about embellishing; and HERE for part three for how to finish your atc.  It doesn't matter even if you're not wanting to create atc's, the tutorials are wonderful for any type of crazy quilting.  Thank you to Renee for all the time it took to create these!  And if you don't know what the 'Swap Your Mini's - ATC's Crazy Quilt Style' swap is all about, have a look at Pam's announcement post   
HERE.    If you want further information please don't hesitate to let me know!  

- THIS is a really cute baby sweater pattern - comes in varying sizes.

- If you like mandalas how about making one of THESE?  Or THIS?  Or perhaps some of THESE for Christmas gifting?  Or how about THIS one?  THESE would make nice gifts too!  Oooh - I'd love one of THESE in my living room (different colours, of course!). THIS is pretty too.  Do you remember our mothers/grandmothers having THESE pillows??

- Have a look at the embroideries HERE.  The artist has great control with her free motion stitching (be sure to scroll down!).

- If you, like me, are often at a loss as to how you might wear a shawl, perhaps you might find THIS useful.

- If you like to decorate for fall perhaps you'd like to check out your stash and make one (or several) of THESE.  I would embiggen the pattern and make  placemats I think.

- There's a really nice tutorial HERE to make a lovely pencil case (which would make an even better case for hand sewing supplies!).   A nice gift for your sewing friends perhaps?
There, hopefully something out of all those will catch your fancy!

Today the quote is from Robert Louis Stevenson..."Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant"

Friday, September 15, 2017

Just a little bit of knitting

Just to prove that something DOES get accomplished here at Chez Magpie....

Two little grandsons will be getting these for Christmas.  Hats are the 'Tot Lot #9: Watch Cap"  from HERE.  And the mittens are  the Basic Four Needle Mittens from a booklet 'Next Steps Seven: Mittens and Gloves' by Patons.  Both are made using Paton's Canadiana yarn.  Both parents requested 'idiot strings' (whoever came up with THAT term I wonder?).

- Pam Kellogg has announced her new counted cross stitch 'Mystery stitch-a-long' with a Halloween theme.  You can find more details both HERE and HERE.  She also has a really pretty free cross stitch 'Dove of Hope' pattern available HERE.  

- THIS is a fun way to use up scraps - or you could make the flower all in one colour if you prefer.

- There are tons of free knitting pattern links to be found HERE.

- THIS is an absolutely beautiful shawl pattern!  Great way to use up small amounts of yarn too.

- And HERE is another beautiful pattern!

And just for fun I thought I'd share a poor-quality picture of a huge dinosaur we came across in our travels.  It's entirely made of found objects.  Unfortunately the place was closed and we couldn't get closer for better pictures.

Your quote today  is from Mandy Hale..."Be grateful for every second of every day that you get to spend with the people you love.  Life is so very precious"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Something fun!!

This seems to be the week for online parties and that's a good thing because what I'm working on isn't ready to be shown and I got nuttin' to show you!!  

Many of you will remember that in the spring I took part in the wonderful 'Tea Cup & Mug Exchange' organized (and more than capably run!!) by the marvelous Stephanie of 'The Enchanting Rose'.  I had seen references to the swap around the internet and waffled about signing on.  I finally did and I had SO much FUN!!!!  Up until this point Stephanie has been doing this twice a year and I simply cannot imagine the headaches she goes through trying to organize and keep track of everybody.  She very wisely has opted to only run the swap on a yearly basis from now on.  This morning her blog post announcing sign-ups went live and I very quickly hopped on board.  If you'd like to join in please go and read Stephanie's post HERE for the very simple rules and requirements.  You may choose to swap either a cup & saucer or a mug (or you can do both if you'd like!).  You only have until September 20th to sign up!

- Many of you are aware of the TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) challenge/stitch-a-long that Sharon Boggon runs on her blog.  This week marks the final stitch in the current series (never fear, she plans to run it again!).  She has also announced a new challenge called 'Beyond TAST'.  Have a look at her post HERE for further information.

- Continuing on with the pincushion theme of my previous post, HERE's a great tutorial to make a really lovely one out of wool scraps. She also has a great tutorial to make a pincushion using (of all things!) a bedspring!!  Go HERE to see it.  And HERE is a great tutorial for an unusual pincushion.

- How I wish I had a bunch of wooden thread spools because if I did I would make one of THESE!  And check out all THESE great ideas for using spools!!

- Perhaps your sewing kit needs to have one of THESE to make you happy?

- THIS is beautiful and there's instructions on how to make your own.

- I stumbled across the most amazing musicians and thought you might like to hear them too.  Go HERE to hear one of their incredible renditions (and if you want more, just google 'The Singing Contractors' and enjoy!).  Scroll down a wee bit when you click on the link.

Today your quote is from an anonymous source but I think it is a fitting one considering the horrible things that are happening around the world...."You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you"

Please go and do something!

Friday, September 08, 2017

Playing along!

I told you about this fun online party a couple of days ago and I decided I would play along...

Go HERE for further info about the party.
Thank you so much to Ida of 'My Sister Made Me Do It'
for organizing the party!

I created a pincushion for the party using parts of several ladies hankies I had in my stash.  Some of the hankies in my collection are so pretty and it's a shame to leave them languishing in storage when they can be made into something useful.

I thought the party-goers might also enjoy seeing a few of my other pincushions too.  

These were made for Christmas gifts one
year - and include an emery-filled 
strawberry on top.

This is one that I included in one of my
hussifs.  You can see more about it HERE and HERE.

This one is my daily-use pincushion.
It's made using the following components...

A salad bowl found at the thrift store 

Seven metal napkin rings that fit inside
the bowl...glued in place

I then used some recycled denim fabric to make stuffed 'poufs' and glued them into the napkin rings for the flower petals.  

This is another pincushion that sees constant use.
I've made a number of these for gifts, but I add a heavy
washer (from the hardware store) covered with
a bit of felt and sew it on the bottom to add weight.
The pattern can be found HERE.  

Part of the play along is to show our ugliest pincushion.
Well, this one isn't really 'ugly' (because I love
the fabric) BUT it ended up being huge
and spent more time landing on the floor
than it did anything else.

For those of you visiting here for the first time, I normally include several links to things I find interesting 'round and about the internet, as well as a daily quote.  

- There's a real nice (and free!) Christmas-themed cross stitch sampler beginning HERE.  The first pattern would be lovely as an ornament too.  A new design will be posted each Friday.

- Now our thoughts (at least in this hemisphere) are turning to fall and winter (perish the thought!), perhaps you might like to make yourself one of THESE.

- To continue with the pincushion theme - go HERE for a free pattern that will use up fabric scraps;  and HERE's another one; and for just plain fun inspiration go HERE (and scroll down!).  

Today your quote is from an anonymous source... "Too much fabric?  I think the phrase you're looking for is too small sewing room"

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Swap your Mini's - ATC style!!!

The staff of Crazy Quilt Quarterly magazine are excited and happy to announce the very first 'Swap Your Mini's - Artist Trading Cards CQ Style'!

We all like to send and receive fun things in the mail and we all like to create things that are quick and easy....right?  So the staff of Crazy Quilt Quarterly are excited to announce "Swap Your Mini's - ATC's CQ Style'!  We'd love for you all to play along (and you can play as often as you'd like!).

All you have to do is create one (or as many as you'd like) crazy quilted artist trading card(s) and send via snail mail to Pam Kellogg.  You will receive one back for each one you send.  Simple?


1. Create a crazy quilted artist trading card ( 2 1/2" x 3 1/2").  It MUST be crazy quilted and it MUST be the stated size.  We ask that there by no politically themed entries (patriotic is fine).

2.  Any embellishments should be flat to keep mailing costs down (eg. seed beads, flat buttons, ribbon, embroidery, charms, etc.).

3.  Each ATC you create must be mailed to Pam Kellogg and MUST include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope). Be sure to include a separate SASE for EACH ATC you send!

*** NOTE:  You will need to privately email Pam at   or myself at   
to indicate your desire to play and to receive Pam's snail mail address.***

4.  Please use the backing card (pattern provided) on each of your ATC's and also include your email address on each one so the recipient can contact you.  For additional protection through the mail, you can also enclose your atc using the envelope pattern provided.  Please don't mail using those however - they could be lost in the mail!! 

Alas, we can only open this to residents of the United States.  Deadline for receipt is January 31, 2018.

As a further incentive Pam will photograph each atc and they will be published in a special edition of the magazine....the date of which will be announced as soon as it becomes available.  AND  six of the ATC's that we receive will be chosen for the cover and will receive an extra ATC created by one of our staff members!!

As an additional help, perhaps you might like to print off the following checklist.

Have fun and let's Swap Our Mini's - ATC's CQ Style!"

Something else for the Christmas box

The other day I showed you a picture of the three hats I'd finished knitting and now I've completed a pair of fingerless mittens and a cowl that will accompany one of the hats (the one pictured below).

All three pieces were done using Paton's Canadiana yarn.  The mitts are 'Jeff's Mitts' from Lorraine Ehrlinger Designs and the pattern can be found HERE.  The cowl is a simple pattern I came up with....just cast on 86 stitches and then work one row of K1, P1 followed by a row of K.  Just keep repeating until it measures about 7".  I think the pattern is actually called 'Broken Rib'.  

- THIS falls under the wow-worthy title.  Beautiful work.

- THIS is a fun crocheted flower tutorial - not only is it pretty as presented, but the individual 'florets' would be cute on their own.

- THIS is for inspiration only - there doesn't seem to be any directions, but it's fairly self-explanatory I think.

- Smocking seems to be enjoying a resurgence in the form of jewelry and you can go HERE to see a few pieces (be sure to click on the arrows to see further examples).

- If you plan on doing some decorating for fall, perhaps you'd like to make one of THESE.  

This is a quote from Tom Bodett..."The difference between school and life?  In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test.  In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson"