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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Eureeka!! Oh Happy Day!!!!

Did you hear it?  All the big celebration happening over at Chez Magpie?  Let me tell you - it was huge and it would be a shame if you missed it. 



The final in the three-some of Quilt-zzzzzzzzz  is done.  Well, I guess I should qualify that and say that it still needs to be machine quilted (not, however by moi) and I have to put the binding on.  But I'm calling it done.  And no-one had better argue with me because I'm celebrating and that's all there is to it.  

Today your quote is from Frank A. Clark.... "Why not upset the apple cart?  If you don't the apples will rot anyway" 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

More Quilt-zzzzzzzz

Most of you will remember the two massive Quilt-zzzzz projects I did over the winter and some of you might remember that I had some leftover offcuts from the blocks.  Well, there's a third quilt-zzzzzzz underway to use those up. 


The white sections are the leftover block pieces and I purchased the small black flower print to increase the size to a double.  The bit of fabric you can see on the edges is what I have for the backing.  

Today I don't have a quote for you - instead I am going to tell you a story (courtesy of a facebook post from my daughter-in-love).  I don't know the origin of this, unfortunately.

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her - her husband had cheated on her and she was devastated.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seems as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high heat.  Soon the pots came to boil.  In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.  She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.  She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.  Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her granddaughter, she asked "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee" she replied.

Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft.  The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.  Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee.  The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich flavour.  The granddaughter then asked, "What does it mean, grandmother?"

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity:  boiling water.  Each reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting.  However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.  The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.  The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter.  "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot, an egg or coffee beans?"

Think of this:  Which am I?  Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?  Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?  Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean?  The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.  When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.  If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.  When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

How do you handle adversity?  Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Better sit down!

Yes, sitting is definitely recommended because I truly don't want you to fall over from the shock of seeing actual NEW content on this tattered old blog.  I'll bet you were beginning to think it would never happen!

So, just to prove that all is not stagnant here, 
I give you...

little ten-minute pieces of what I jokingly refer to as

Now I'll bet you're doubly happy I told you to sit down, because the sheer magnitude of these pieces must have been so overwhelming.  Maybe you need a moment to recover.

The back story - last month at our CQTeers meeting Irene challenged us each to fill a little paper book with 'something'.  I completely drew a blank as to what to do and finally resorted to hauling out my 'component box' and then I challenged myself to create something (anything!!) using fodder from my box and doing each page in under ten minutes.  It was actually quite fun.  Who knew?

Today I have another quote from an anonymous source.... "At least once a year everyone is a genius"

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I'm late, I'm late!

I know I'm late with my post today, but I have a good reason.  I finished the 'Grande Secret Project' AND one other commitment I had has been met too.  Yay!!  Maybe, just maybe, there might be some new content on this poor ol' blog at some point in the not-too-distant future.  Hope you're sitting down!

Here's a few more photos in the looking back series...

A knitted lace scarf - made in 2013

In 2013 I began a wonderful wrapping cloth class with Karen Ruane
and this is what I ended up creating.... 

 A couple of close ups...

Today your quote is a Chinese proverb... "Words are mere bubbles of water, but deeds are drops of gold"

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sites and Series--zzzzzzz

Now (yawn) I will return to the ongoing series...

This is the back of a crazy quilted purse I created (for myself actually) in 2013

This is the front of another CQ purse, also made in 2013 as a gift for a friend.

Also in 2013, I took some thrifted metal napkin rings, 

a thrifted wooden bowl,

and came up with this pincushion.

It rapidly became my every-day, stuffed full of needles,
and well used pincushion.

If you want to make one yourself, just look for 7 napkin rings, each about 1 - 1 1/2" high; and a wooden salad bowl (test fit the rings to see that they will fit).  Make a 'pouf' out of fabric stuffed with a little bit of fibrefill that will fit on the top of each of the ring.  Glue the rings into the bottom of the bowl and then use a hot glue gun to glue the poufs into the rings.  I added an artificial green leaf, just for fun.    

Today your quote is from Alex Haley.... "Find the good - and praise it" 

Friday, August 21, 2015

and more....

Now, a return to the series...

My boys (in their 30's now) are both fans of 'Calvin & Hobbes' and when I stumbled across this cute little crocheted fellow on Ravelry, I had to make him for the each of the boys.  

The free pattern is HERE.  

2012 was when my fascination with making hussifs began and this is the first one I made.  It's the one I use everyday.

2012 also was the year that I created a pair of crazy quilted Christmas stockings - a gift for a friend.  She loves all things Victorian so these were perfect for her.

Today your quote is from Laura Ingalls Wilder...."I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all"

Thursday, August 20, 2015


I'm doing my post early today because I've had a couple of inquiries regarding the denim quilt I posted about yesterday.  The pattern is free and can be obtained HERE and also there's an updated version HERE.  They're really easy to make and could be created using cotton fabrics in place of the denim.  I think it would make up into a great I-Spy quilt for little ones too.

Soldiering onwards in the ongoing looking back series...

Yet more in my love affair with recycled denim.  Two pillows made in 2011.

2012 seemingly was the year for making felted bags.  I did quite a number of them and this is one example.  It was a gift for someone who is a pianist.

Another knitted project from 2012 - a journal cover.

In 2012 I took another online class from Carole Brungar called 'The Road To My House'.  It involved a great deal of free motion embroidery, something I wasn't particularly good at (still aren't!).  

The houses you see here are replicas of the houses I've lived in over the years.

The rest of the 'elements' are things that I love...there's a bookcase filled with books, a ball of yarn and knitting needles, a sewing machine, a spool of thread, a cup of coffee, flowers, and one of our cats, and my dog Odin. 

It was a really fun class and I definitely learned a lot.

Today your quote is from Anonymous..... "If you can lay down at night, knowing in your heart that you made someone's day just a little bit better, you know you had a good day"


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Moving right along

And I can hear the collective 'would she just get ON with it already!!'  from my faithful readership.  So sorry, but I have absolutely nothing new that I am allowed to show you at the moment, so the looking back series will just have to continue for a little bit longer.  I do promise that I will be doing something I can show before long if you can just hang in there with me a little while!

This post bounces around a bit chronologically, but I thought you might like to see a few of the different things I created.  

 From 2012....
This was another of my recycled denim projects and was created for a throw on the back of our couch.  I really loved making this, so much so that when DH suggested that maybe it would be nice to have two smaller ones for the backs of our respective recliner chairs I was happy to oblige.
***UPDATED TO ADD - the pattern is free from HERE and an updated version is HERE.  

From 2011 - another of my recycled denim bags.

 In 2010 I took a wonderful online class (my first) from Carole Brungar where we created a fabric journal.  I, of course, being an over-achiever made one twice as thick as the original.  At that time we were planning to sell our house and move to the apartment and I wanted to have a memory book of our garden.  Each of the pages featured a photo of one of our flowers.  That was also the year that our garden was featured on the local garden tour so there was lots to celebrate.

The photo below shows a closeup of one of the pages.  If you embiggen it, hopefully you can see some of the details and can also see the table that my DH created using an old sewing machine base with a cement top.  We scrounged an old wooden rocking chair to complete the scene (wouldn't dare have sat in that chair though, because I suspect it would have fallen apart!).   We set it up at the back of the garden during the tour and many people commented on how pretty it was.

Today the quote is from Max Lucado.... "Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leave you speechless, remain that way.  Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers, "Do you like it?  I did it just for you"

Monday, August 17, 2015

Plugging along

Well, at least I'm able to get back at my stitching, which is a huge step in the right direction.  I even actually managed to spend a whole night in bed last night (as opposed to having to be propped up in the recliner).  Still not working on anything I'm able to show you quite yet, so I will continue on with 'the series' (at risk of losing my faithful readership who really do want to see something new!!).

 Back in 2011 I was heavily into working with recycled denim and one of the things I designed and created then was a circular knitting needle case.  To the left you can see the outside and below the inside of what I came up with.  Unfortunately I didn't keep the pattern and couldn't likely make another one like it now (at least not without a lot of thought!).

 In 2011 I took part in another art doll round robin and this is the 'naked' doll I sent out into the world.

Her 'skirt' was metal as I remember, but I don't know the origin of it.  The upper 'body' was a glass part from a lamp.

Below you can see what came back to me, complete with her own table and vase of pretty flowers.  Her name was 'Anneelaw'.

I also took part in a crazy quilt heart swap and this is the one I created...

Today the quote is from Aristotle... "Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all"

Friday, August 14, 2015

more looking back

Today I want to mention a really great embroidery newsletter that I've been getting and perhaps you might like to sign up for it yourself.  There's a very excellent embroidery magazine published in Australia called 'Inspirations' and they issue a bi-weekly (or perhaps it's weekly?) online newsletter that is often filled with wonderful embroidery inspiration.    They also can be found on facebook with tons of pictures of absolutely beautiful embroidery.  Unfortunately I can't give you a link to that...can't get it to work properly.  (Oh...and just as a sidenote - remember my rose-themed hussif?  Well, they published it a few weeks ago....not only on their facebook page but also in their newsletter!!   Did you see my buttons popping??).

Now, back to the looking back series....  Yesterday I showed you my naked Shudayra doll as she looked setting off into the world.  Well, here she is as she looked upon her return...

She came home riding on a beautiful horse and her lovely auburn hair was protected by her very own parasol.  The horse was created using a plastic version, which was then covered with paper mache.  To say I was thrilled was the understatement of the year!!

UPDATED TO ADD:  This doll was done in a round robin and visited several other doll artists all over North America before coming home to me.

 There are just so many incredible details that the girls added to her and I never cease to be blown away when I look at her.  Right now she resides on top of my bookshelf in my studio and oversees all that I do.

Here's another doll that you might like to see as well.

This one I called 'Key To My Brain' and she was created as a result of a challenge in the doll group I belonged to at the time.

Her body was a metal Christmas tree and her torso and head were from a dollar store doll.  I gave the poor thing a lobotomy  (oooh - mean, mean person I was!!) and re-created her 'brain' using electrical wires and keyboard keys.  She was painted silver and her 'dress' was a piece of metal mesh ribbon.

Here's a closeup of her face and head...

Well, poor ol' 'Key To My Brain' wasn't destined for a long life and one day, not too long after her creation, I entered my studio to discover this...

Yep, she'd had enough of this earth and threw herself off the shelf and beheaded herself.  Poor thing.  Sad really.

Today I have another anonymous quote.... "You have to take the good with the bad, smile with the sad, love what you've got, and remember what you had.  Always forgive, but never forget.  Learn from mistakes, but never regret"

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Soldiering onward....

Carrying on with the Looking Back series...

This was a block I created for donation to a Breast Cancer fundraiser quilt project.  It had to be washable, so I relied on pre-made lace motifs for much of the decoration.

From 2008 through the latter part of 2011 I was heavily into making my recycled denim jackets.  At first I only used blue denim and then I decided that I wanted a black one for myself.  That, in turn, started a whole new round of requests because now everyone wanted a black one too.

The back of one of the many I have made.

The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that the sleeves of my jackets all featured a seminole pattern.  A few of you might even think that it was a trademark of mine or that perhaps I was rather clever to come up with doing that.
Nope.  Not clever at all.  The original pattern idea called for a 'gusset' under the arm and the seminole was a case of my having absolutely NO earthly idea of how to make a gusset!! 

The end of 2009 saw the beginning of an art doll round robin collaboration that I was involved in.   My naked doll, which I named Shudayra, set off into the world looking like this.

Tomorrow I will show you how she turned out.  The transformation was absolutely incredible!!

Today is another wonderful quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.... "Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not"


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The eternal question

I wonder who feels worse right now - me for having a bronchial 'infection' or you, for having to continue to suffer through this Look Back series!   Somehow I tend to think it just might be you!!

And now, on to the rest of the blocks I created during the year-long colour challenge organized by Sharon Boggon....

I apologize for the photo quality on these - I've learned a little bit since then about taking better pictures. 

Today the quote is another anonymous one.... "Few things are created and perfected in the same moment"


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On plagues and retrospectives

Many of you know that I deal with seasonal allergies on a regular basis, and generally manage to do my fair share of whining and complaining about same.  Well, the 'plague' part of this post falls under that umbrella.  My fall allergies struck insanely early this year (what's up with that anyway?) and have already morphed into what the doctor very helpfully calls a 'bronchial infection'.  It's a plague.  There's no doubt about it.  I must say that I'm heartily sick (hah...that's funny!!) and tired of the lack of sleep and efforts to dislodge one or both of my lungs, either simultaneously or separately. 

Needless to say there is absolutely nothing creative going on here at the moment either.  Can't quite decide which is worse - the disease, or the withdrawal pains from not being able to stitch.'s some more in the look behind series...

These were also part of the year-long colour challenge led by Sharon Boggon. 

Today the quote is from Anonymous..... "Dear 3 am...we have to stop meeting this way.  I'd much rather sleep with you"