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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

White, of a different sort

After dire predictions of a really nasty winter storm headed our way we lucked out and got off much lighter than we were expecting.  However, this morning we did wake up to this...

The trees were absolutely laden with wet heavy snow.  It was an amazing sight.  I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be walking beneath any of them though because shortly after these pictures were taken the snow started to fall off and it would have been cold indeed had it gone down your neck!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A return to white!

I've had so many other commitments that I had put aside my white cloth I was working on, although I certainly didn't forget how much I loved it and wanted to return to playing.  I laid it out on the floor this afternoon and was pleasantly surprised to see just how close to being done it is. 


(as usual, click to emibiggen)

There are just a few small areas to fill in and it will be ready to finish up.  I'm so excited to get back to work on it and fully plan to start another one in the very near future.  Can you tell I'm just a teeny-tiny bit obsessed? 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I survived!

.....and oddly enough, so did my class!! 

Today was part II of the two-part crazy quilting
workshop I was teaching for our local quilt guilt.
The ladies had a very productive day, and I must say
that they were all stellar students!

Here they are, showing off their 
wonderful hussifs...

(click to embiggen so you can see more clearly!).

I think they had least I hope they did!
(And the teacher had fun too!! )

Monday, February 25, 2013

Knitting doo-dad

Anybody who knows me is aware that I am a person that reads books about organization like some people read steamy novels.  Of course, having said that, there is nothing to prove that I myself am the least bit organized!

Anyway, I stumbled across a cute little knitted pattern for making a little 'thingie' to hold the things that I normally toss on the table beside me when I'm knitting - things like my crochet hook for dropped stitches (which, btw, I NEVER and my sewing up needle.

I made two...

Aren't they cute?
The free pattern can be found HERE. 
The only thing I did differently from the original pattern
was to add a heavy-duty washer on the bottom for
weight, which I then covered with felt.


Friday, February 22, 2013

A labor of love

Oooh, boy, do I have something really high on the scale of wonderfulness to show you today!!  Jack (DH) very rarely asks me to make him anything, so when he requested some sort of 'bag' to cover his fishing reel to keep the dust out of it, I had to oblige.  Out came the recycled denim stash and I ended up creating this...

See?  I TOLD you it was wonderful!!

Oh well, at least I have a happy hubbie.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Black clouds of angst

Yep, that's what you've been seeing in the sky the past couple of days.   Yep, I'm the cause of it too.

Absolutely nothing creative has been accomplished at the House of Magpie unless you count the many colourful ways I have come up with saying 'gosh darn'.

My computer, printer and I haven't been on good speaking terms.  After much gnashing of teeth (mine) and clashing of gears (printer)....and much wastage of printer ink, I might add.....I have finally managed to create a handout for my CQ workshop students along with the article for the magazine.  Phew.

Oh yeah - and you know those computer manuals for Dummies?  I'm too dumb for those. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hussif - Finished!!

Sorry about being MIA over the past few days but I have been busily beavering away trying to finish the latest hussif.  Here are pictures to prove that it's done, done AND done!!

You can click on any of the pictures to embiggen so you can see more of the detail.

EDITED TO ADD:  If you want to see the first finished hussif go HERE.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Leaving comments

It has come to my attention that some people don't quite know how to leave comments on the blogs they read, so I thought I'd do a mini-tutorial on how to do it (at least on this blog).

1.  At the bottom of this post you will see "Posted by Magpies Mumblings:...."Comments"  and "Links to this post".  Click on "Comments".

2.  It will take you to a screen which says "Leave Your Comment" above an open box.  Type your comment in the box.

3.  Below that you will see another box that has a hodge-podge of letters and numbers.  Copy what you see into the small box below it.  The reason for those ridiculous (and sometimes hard to read) hieroglyphics is to stop spam from flooding my inbox.  If you find you can't read the particular gobbldy-gook that they have there, just put what you think it says.  If it's wrong it will give you additional opportunities to tell it what it wants to know.  Don't be afraid of messing it up!

4.  Below that there is a "Choose An Identity" option which reads 'Google Account' (use this one if you have a google account);  'Open ID' - I'm ashamed to say I haven't a clue what this one means!!;  'Name/URL' - click on it and it will ask you for your name and/or your URL;  and the final option is 'Anonymous'.    I would recommend you use the 'Name/URL' option simply because I'd love to know who you are and hopefully I will be able to respond to you. The 'URL' portion refers to your blog address if you have a blog and would like me to come and visit you!  If you prefer to use the 'Anonymous' option I won't know who you are (unless you include your name in the your comment) and I won't be able to respond to you.

5.  Below you will see a "Publish Your Comment" box.  Click on it, and're done!!  It will take a while for your comment to show on my blog because I have to approve it (another safeguard against spam). 

That's not so hard, is it?

btw - if I can teach a crazy quilt class, you can learn to leave comments!!

Please be sure to read the comments on this post
to find some other really helpful hints!   

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beavering a crazy way

Here's my class,
all stitching merrily away...

I think they survived the whole ordeal,
as did I.  
Who knew?

Monday, February 11, 2013

TUSAL, stitching, and terror

I'm a day late posting my TUSAL (Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long) for the month...oops.  Here are my orts for the month...

The 'terror' part of this post is because tomorrow is THE day that I teach the first of two crazy quilting workshops for our local quilt guild.  As of last count there are nine poor souls labouring under the impression that they might manage to learn something from me.  Not so sure they'll be able to hear what I have to say over the sound of my knees knocking!  I have always hated having to get up in front of people to say anything (put me in the BACK of the room so I don't have to look at anybody and I'm mouth almighty).  Shoot me now...

Here's three more sections of the new hussif (I promise I won't subject you to any more of these...until I make the next hussif, that is)....

The next pictures of the hussif will be of the completed front.

Friday, February 08, 2013


Here's what we are seeing outside...

We're in the midst of a major snowstorm and this 
is what we see from our balcony.
That red blob down there?
That's our car!

I'm stitching
and staying nice and warm!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

For those of you who are getting bored....

yes, this project will soon be done (at least the embroidery part of it!).....

Thanks Lyn for the patterns for all of these!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Mailman stalking and crazy quilting

I was the very lucky recipient of an absolutely beautiful pincushion created by Deb of Mosaic Magpie Just look at how gorgeous it is...

This picture absolutely doesn't do it justice.  The gold on it just gleams and I doubt you can tell that the flowers are raised.  She made a lovely little emery strawberry too - I've never owned such a thing and can hardly wait to sharpen all my dull needles.  My imagination has gone into overtime - I'm thinking of the possible history of this mug - perhaps it was used by a ladies maid to serve hot chocolate to her mistress?
Thank you Deb - you already know how much I love it!!

- - - - - - - -

And, here's the latest stitching on my hussif...

Monday, February 04, 2013

More seams

This one is a little crocheted flower, 
held down with a
 gold sequin and bead.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Tools of the trade

Today I thought I'd do a bit of mumbling about some of the tools I find invaluable for my crazy quilting.  First of all, here's a picture...

Of course we all need a pair of good sharp scissors and these are my, small and they also have a small point which I have to admit I often use in place of a 'real' stitch ripper ( this an example as do as I say and not as I do??). 

Next is a pair of small pliers.  Sometimes, when I'm stitching through something that's thick those pliers come in handy to pull the needle through (particularly with my arthritic fingers sometimes).  I also have a small pair of cutters (which I forgot to photograph) for clipping the backs from buttons or taking jewelry pieces apart.

The little blue box is a product called 'Thread Heaven'  which is a thread conditioner and protectant.  I use it every time I am stitching with metallic thread because it cuts down in fraying.  It's also wonderful with the rayon or nylon threads.  The product is almost like a really thick gell (perhaps the texture of a lip balm that comes in the tube). 

I have varying colours of spools of beading thread which is perfect for stitching down beads and various jewelry pieces.  It's quite strong and, although coloured, is quite clear so it doesn't stand out in your stitching.

A roll of 1/4" green painter's tape.  Why would I use that?  Well, I use it to mark my seams so that they are even.  It's low-tack so it doesn't leave a residue on your fabric.  I wouldn't recommend leaving it in place for a long time, but for the duration of stitching a seam it is perfect.  Do NOT attempt to use regular masking tape because it does leave a sticky residue which attracts dirt. 

Waste Canvas, 14 count,  is one of my favourite products.  It is wonderful for keeping your stitching even.  I simply cut a piece that is long enough to cover my seam area and baste it in place.  I then stitch my pattern (being careful not to pierce the canvas threads as I stitch), remove the basting threads and then use a pair of tweezers to pull the shorter side of the canvas threads out.  Then you just grasp the remaining (longer) threads and give them a gentle pull to remove them.  Do not wet the canvas (despite that being the usual way to remove them).  I find you end up with a gooey mess if you do. 

Graph paper - pretty obvious I guess.  I draw up my pattern ideas before I stitch so I know what I'm doing.  Of course that's not to say that I don't sometimes change my mind when I do the actual stitching!

Now, it's over to you..
what tools do you find invaluable 
in your stitching?
Please share!!