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

Monday, November 30, 2020

Christmas decor at Chez Magpie

I must admit it's unheard of for Christmas decorating to happen here at Chez Magpie before the beginning of December (most often even mid-December) but we hauled everything out and did the deed.  There was a great deal of muttering and even a teeny little bit of swearing involved (mainly Resident Chef as he wrestled the "easy-peasy lift from the bottom, hook at the top" pre-lit Christmas tree into submission.  The 'hook at the top' was an issue because for some mysterious reason said hook part had evaporated since last year.  There was another bit of blue air over the fact that some of the lights had quit working.  Luckily we happened to have a spare strand so that disaster was averted.  Every year we swear we're going to buy a new tree and every year it doesn't happen.  We can only have an artificial tree due to fire regulations and the one we have is/was too tall for the space we have for it now so at some point the Chef lobbed off part of the top.  The entire thing makes Charlie Brown's tree look positively lush, at least until I stuff a fluffy, shedding all the while, hunk of garland into the middle of it.  

Please note you can click to embiggen the photos!

This sits atop our tv cabinet.  The sleigh once held a floral arrangement.  

Some assorted ornaments 

Our tree sits atop an old treadle sewing machine in front of our only living room window.  Beneath you can just catch a glimpse of the wooden nativity Resident Chef made a number of years ago.
The nativity is a set that Avon produced a number of years ago - purchased while I was a rep.

The tree - bad lighting and all.

The topper ended up being a teddy bear - because, after much searching, it was determined that we got rid of our previous one and had intended to buy something new.  Obviously - intent and doing are two different things!

This is a Belsnickel Santa that I made for our friends back in 2002.  We inherited it back again and he now resides at our house.  

If you would like to know more about the history of this particular type of Santa go HERE.  

This sits on top of a cabinet in the living room.  I made the lamp shade in a workshop years ago and the angel (which lights up) was a gift

- THIS is quite simply one of the most adorable Christmas ornaments I've seen so far this year (scroll down a bit to see the cute little owl!).  

- Some of you might find THIS technique to make your own vellum paper of interest.

- Have a look at the work by THIS artist.

- And the work of THIS artist too!

Today, instead of a quote...

Friday, November 27, 2020

A hive of industriousness!

 A hive of industry?


Well, as the picture below will attest...

What?  You don't see a picture?


Could that possibly be because
my mojo is on hiatus?

Yes, for some reason my creative mojo is refusing to mojo.  I'm flitting from one thing to another and not coming to roost on anything.  Even I'm bored with myself!  

Bored enough that I'm contemplating hauling out the Christmas decorations - a full two weeks earlier than I would normally even start thinking about it.  

I'm sure you wish I would get off my duff and start actually doing something that would even remotely prove to be interesting.  Instead, there's yet more mumblings....

- There are some cute small Christmas cross-stitch designs HERE.

- Seeing THIS was another awwwww moment.

- THIS is a sweet little project you might like to make - either for a little tuck-in gift or for decorating the tree.

- Those who crochet might find THIS tip of value.

- THESE would be fun to knit.  And THESE would be fun to make to use up scrap fabrics.

- I know that Thanksgiving is now over for both Canada and the US, but THIS caught my eye and wouldn't he  be fun to make to have ready for next year?  

- The quilters among you will most likely enjoy seeing THIS and might want to take part!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


 I'm too old for this!

Or at the very least, the mind is willing, 
but oh the body is weak.

Crawling about on the living room floor for an
entire afternoon pinning hexies onto a king-sized
bedsheet is not something for the faint of heart
as my aching knees, hips and thighs will attest!

And to add more angst to the equation I cannot
manage to get a decent picture to show you what I did!

However, this is the best I can do...

There will be more hexies created to add to this
which will mean more crawling about.

On the MUCH brighter side, the mailman earned his stripes and brought this yesterday.  I was lucky enough to win one of Kim's most amazing creations and it came all the way to Canada from Australia.  This is what I saw when I removed the outer wrapper....

Even the box and the wrapping was beautiful!

But the main event was inside!  When I carefully undid the packaging I was rewarded with this ....

The prettiest Christmas stocking I have ever seen!

The sheer amount of detail in this is incredible and it most definitely will not only enjoy being on view during the Christmas season but all year round.

Thank you Kim - you're such a good friend and I will treasure this, and our friendship, ever more!

This week I managed to find a few more items for the 'Making Space' challenge that Becki is spearheading on her blog.

Let's see - there's a computer 'thingie' that's supposed to back up everything (but doesn't work any more);  a hood from a coat I no longer own that was unearthed in the hall closet; 3 Christmas gift bags and 3 rolls of Christmas wrap.  Oh, and 2 packages of Christmas cards.  Before you say it, I know I could technically hold onto the wrap and the cards for next year but I know myself well enough to know I would put them away and forget I had them and buy more.  Might as well bless someone else!

That's ten items, bringing my total up to 37.  

- THESE are so cute - and the pattern comes in several different sizes.  

- I thought THIS was rather a wonderful tribute to Ruth  Bader Ginsburg.  Something to make for all the strong women in your life perhaps?  And HERE is a crochet version that could easily be adapted.  

- Have a scroll through the amazing work by THIS artist.

- THIS is a really sweet pillow design.

- There are some really cute free knitting patterns HERE.

The quote of the day..."Just because it's hard doesn't mean it's impossible"

Monday, November 23, 2020

The best of plans....

 Yes, the best of plans are bound to run aground more often than I'd care to admit.  I had great plans on Saturday to lay out all those hexies I made awhile ago (remember those?) onto the king-sized bed sheet I planned to use for the background.  The sheet, alas, was wrinkled - badly.  OK - I have an iron and an itty-bitty teeny-tiny wee small (well you get the idea!) ironing board.  Despite my noble plan to wrestle those wrinkles into submission the minute I moved the sheet to iron the next section it promptly wrinkled some more.  Argh.  So.... after some ponderment I hit upon the plan to hang said sheet over the dual rods in our bathroom, spritz it with water, and then turn the shower on with the door closed to build up steam.  Nobody could have been more surprised than me when it actually worked!  However, it took most of the day to dry so the 'Grande Plan' came to no fruition.  

So...on to Grande Plan # 2 - designing the next landscape.  Of course the first attempt didn't work and I changed my mind in mid-go anyway.  So a re-design happened.  By this time the day was gone.  

And all this to tell you that (yep, you guessed it) another post of mumblings is heading your way....

- I happen to love The Grinch so of course THIS caught my eye!

- Those who enjoy cross stitching might find THIS of interest.

- Making one (or several!) of THESE little guys would be a fun addition to a Christmas tree.

- Have a look at the creations of THIS artist.  Make sure you also click on her 'pet portraits' category!

- And HERE is another artist that has wonderful creations (and several different galleries to peek into).

- THIS is a great idea to use old sewing patterns.  

- THIS was one of those things that elicited an involuntary 'awwww' from me.  I know it's shown as being used for a baby shower - but I'm thinking in terms of Christmas ornaments too!

Today's quote.."If you don't do wild things while you're young, you'll have nothing to smile about when you're old"

Friday, November 20, 2020


 Question for you use washaway stabilizer?  If so, what brand works well?  I have some 'Unique' and it will not dissolve no matter what I do.  Obviously not what you want after you've spent several hours creating something and then can't get the stabilizer out!!  Over to you....opinions please....


Yes, today there is nothing but mumblings because I got nuttin'.  You do NOT want to see a picture of my pile of addressed Christmas cards - you do NOT want to see gift wrapped presents - you do NOT want to see all the little things I managed to actually DO over the past couple of days because there is not one single thing that isn't yawn-worthy.

- THESE are quite pretty - you'll need to use the translate feature for the pattern although I think it can be done just from the pictures alone.

- Have a look at the amazing quilts made by THIS artist!  You'll have to click on the pictures to advance to the next one in his gallery.

- THIS is a really cute little CAL that some of you might like to play along with.

- Mary Corbet posted a notice about THIS and some of you might find it interesting.  

- THIS is a cute Christmas project that would use up scraps from your stash - or could be made in non-Christmas fabrics for use any time of the year. And while you're there check out the rest of her Christmas-themed tutorials HERE.  

- There's a detailed how-to HERE for building a gingerbread house. OR if you'd prefer to make one out of felt, how about THIS?  And for further inspiration, check out THIS Pinterest board.

Today's quote is from Wilson Kanadi..."If you really think again, there are actually so many things to be thankful for in every single day of your life"

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A return to regularly scheduled programming - perhaps?

 You will remember that I asked you in THIS post to vote for which landscape I will attempt next and this one was the clear winner (don't worry, I'll be doing both!).  

Stay tuned, because a new landscape is about to begin!

This week the number of items leaving isn't that large but at least it's a step in the right direction.

A practically full can of auto touch up paint (certainly doesn't match the new car!); a miniature orchid that refuses to bloom and is slowly dying (time to put it out of its misery); a well-loved hair comb that I have used daily since I was in my teens - poor thing deserves a proper funeral!;  AND, because I had to buy two in order to get a new one, a new comb that can bless someone else;  And finally, two hand towels destined for the humane society.  Item count now stands at 27.

- Those of you who like applique will enjoy seeing THIS and might want to play along.  (Thank you Jocelyn for the head's up on this one!)

- THIS would make a great gift - and be a win/win in using up scrap fabrics too.

- Those who like fabrics by Tilda might enjoy seeing THIS (and even if you don't like Tilda fabrics, it's a gorgeous quilt anyway!)

- THIS is a really nice cowl design that someone might like to find under the Christmas tree.  THIS one too!  

- THESE caught my eye - not necessarily because of the way they're originally presented, but I wonder about applique onto a quilt for a child?

Today's quote....Jeanne posted this on her blog and I had to share it with you....

Monday, November 16, 2020

The last one? Maybe.....

 This is the last of the scheduled Christmas gifts being created this year at Chez Magpie.  I think.  Maybe.  Or maybe not???

He's not quite as cute as the original but I don't think our grandson will care, do you?  Our boys, and now our grandson, love 'Where The Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak and this is the monster from the story.  

Pattern is found HERE.  

- THIS is for the fans of chocolate oranges!

- There's some beautiful work in the galleries of THIS artist.

- THIS would be a lovely gift for someone who feels the cold.

- Wouldn't it be fun to make up both the adult and kid sizes of THESE?  And while you're there she has a ton of great gift ideas HERE.  

Today's quote is from Helen Keller..."Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence"