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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Thanks and things

First, I must show you the treasures that arrived in the mail from Suzy Quife.  I won her very generous giveaway a few weeks ago and all these pretties appeared in my mailbox...

Thank you SO much Suzy!!! 
They're almost too pretty to use!

Now, on to a few more pictures of my fabric journal...

Today the quote is from Jimi Hendrix.... "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace"

Monday, September 28, 2015

A fun day, and series continuation

Yesterday we were lucky enough to tag along on the first zoo trip with our grandson.  We spent a few hours enjoying the small Elmvale Zoo, which is the perfect size for a little boy who is just discovering the world.  It was perfect size for parents and grandparents too!

Feeding the pot-bellied pigs with Daddy and Grandpa

 With Mommy and Daddy watching the monkeys

We had a great day, and plans are made for a return trip next summer.
- - - - - -
To continue on with the journal series...

Today the quote is from Sam Levenson.... "The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent"


Friday, September 25, 2015

A continuation, and a start

I completed one more section for the fall pillow...

This is a fairly simple section - just a pumpkin button I found in my stash, with some silk ribbon and variegated pearl cotton lazy daisy stitches and some beads.

When I was doing my 'Looking Back' series a few weeks ago, I showed a picture of a fabric journal I did in an online class with Carole Brungar in 2010.  A few people (well, a 'few' was actually two!!) expressed an interest in seeing more of it.  So...a new series will begin.  If you have seen all this before, hopefully you've forgotten enough to want to see it again.

At the time I began working on this book, we were selling our home and moving into the apartment where we are now.  We had a lovely big garden and I wanted something to remember it by.  When we moved into the house the gardens were dismal.  Nothing had been done with them in many years so they were overgrown and very few flowers were there.  We had very little budget for plants, so asked our friends and family to think kindly of us when they were working in their gardens and any and all plants would be gratefully received.  Needless to say, they came through in spades and we ended up with a ton of beautiful flower beds and a large veggie garden too.   Before we moved I took a lot of pictures of the flowers and many of those photos appear in my journal.

(as always, you should be able to click and embiggen the pictures if you so desire).

 This is the cover and a semi-side view of the book.  I managed to be an over-achiever and made a book that was huge.

This is the inside cover of my book.  DH made the wooden sign that  says 'Welcome to Our Friendship Garden'.  He used some cast-off cedar fence rails.

Morning Glory and a peony.  I'm afraid I can't remember the exact name of the peony now.

Today the quote is from Tony Robbins..... "Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term:  it's who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest sense and most  long-lasting sense of fulfillment"

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A little bit more

Yesterday DH and I had a semi-sanity day (and no comments from the peanut gallery regarding our mental state, please and thank  We sometimes just get in the car and head out for parts unknown just to escape from the house and all that goes along with it.  We ended up driving through Algonquin Park (which, for those of you not from Ont. Canada, is probably the largest park in our province).  It was too early for the leaves to have done much changing of colour but there were a few red trees here and there.  We started the day having breakfast with our friends.  All in all a nice day, but no stitching got done at Chez Magpie.

I made up for that today and completed these two areas...

The bulrushes are primarily silk ribbon with some floss straight stitches.  The flower has a felt leaf and the petals were made using a woven stitch with pearl cotton; satin stitch and French knots.

Today your quote is from Marcel Proust.... "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes"  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

and now, for something different.

I thought, for a change of pace, I'd show you a couple of other things that have been happening here at Chez Magpie.  This morning I finally got around to finishing up a couple of small journal covers I had knitted and now they're residing in the gift box.

 The yarn I used came from my stash and it's one that I guess could be called 'slubby' (for lack of a better word!).  It's thick and thin throughout and is very soft.  The colour is an off-white.  I suspect it might take dye well, but I'm happy with the neutral tones so will leave well enough alone.

A close-up of the crocheted flower I added.

DH has been busily re-finishing a handmade truck that is over 30 years old with the plan to pass it along to our grandson.  DH made this toy for our boys when they were small and it was well-loved at the time.  Hopefully it will be loved once again.

Today the quote is from Jimmy Carter.... "God answers all our prayers.  Sometimes the answer is yes.  Sometimes the answer is no.  Sometimes the answer is, you've got to be kidding!

Monday, September 21, 2015


I have completed two more areas of my fall pillow cover.  I'm still working on camouflaging the long seam and as you can see in the photo I've added another vine to the left (button flowers; silk ribbon leaves and back stitch).  I also added a cute little cross stitch scarecrow.


Hope you have some fun with those links, and now here's your quote for the day (from Dale Carnegie).... "Let us not get so busy or live so fast that we can't listen to the music of the meadow or the symphony that glorifies the forest.  Some things in the world are far more important than wealth;  one of them is the ability to enjoy simple things"

Friday, September 18, 2015

A section

Yesterday I did another little section on my fall block and it was in the effort to camouflage (at least somewhat) the long seam I had running down the block.  That seam was my own fault for not paying enough attention to my piecing process.  Anyhoo....

The offending seam is the one that's beneath the owl and extends pretty much the entire height of the block.  Not good.  So.....the owl was stitched to break up that seam and then I added the curving vine with the purple flowers.  Both of those things take the eye away from the seam itself.  The eagle-eyed among you may have noted the demise of one of the bees (there were three).  I felt the overall look of the vine was more important than the third bee.  I also changed the orange flower on the right to have more of a 'presence' by adding the orange button in the center...another fool-the-eye into overlooking the long seam trick.

Obviously this block is a number of small lessons in what not to do!!  

Today is another anonymous quote... "Calories - Tiny creatures that live in your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every night"  


Thursday, September 17, 2015

More, more, more....

Hah, and now I'd bet you might have that Andrea True Connection song running through your head (you know..."More, More, More, How Do You Like It"....).  And there's nothing off-colour on this blog either (unless you count the photos I post that are out of focus!!). 

There's a couple more areas finished on my pillow top....

The little cross-stitched owl is being used because #1 - he's rather cute, and #2 because he helps to break up the long seam that is there.    I also added the cross-stitched leaves on the seam beneath the pumpkin. 

Presents, of the Christmas sort, are being thought about at Chez Magpie.  There's even been some purchasing of necessary fodder for said Christmas presents.  Unfortunately some of the people who will be on the receiving end of my gifts  read this blog and so I'll have to keep what I'm doing secret, at least for now. 

Today the quote is from Barbara Sheir..... "Down deep we really know our worth, but we don't have easy access to that knowledge.  We need to hear praise coming from outside ourselves or we won't remember that we deserve it"


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Just bobbin' along

Most of you probably remember bobbing for apples when you were kids, so of course there had to be some apples on my pillow top, along with some wheat stalks...

The apples were done using waste canvas and the wheat was embroidered over top of a tissue paper pattern. 

Today the quote is from Wayne Dyer.... "It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh at the same time.  Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either"


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Just a stitchin' along

I have completed two more areas of my fall pillow cover...

The horn of plenty (or cornucopia) was cross stitched using waste canvas.  This design stretched the boundary of what is comfortably worked with this technique because it was a little too large and made removal of the canvas a trifle difficult.  Patience was definitely a virtue with this motif!  The little ear of corn is a combination of waste canvas cross stitch and beads. 

Below you can see the wonderful little lady that crawled out of my mailbox yesterday!  

 She is the creation of my friend Connie Eyberg and hasn't she done a marvelous job of miniaturizing macrame in order to make her?  She will certainly be enjoying pride of place on my pillow cover!!  Thank you SO much Connie!  

Today, instead of a quote, I will give you a poem I found, by an unknown author.  Enjoy.

“Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.”

Saturday, September 12, 2015

As promised....

Today I will show you my solution to what was bothering me yesterday with this...

 The area I was concerned with was the fence with flowers.  The flowers were okay, but the fence was angled and it just didn't look 'right'.

The dilemma was what to do to fix it - I could have unpicked all those stitches or possibly covered the whole section with a new piece of appliqued fabric and started again.

Instead this is what I did...

I found this pretty little bird silkie in my stash and it fit absolutely perfectly over top of the offending area.  The limb the bird is perched on isn't vertical the way I've used it, but looking at a real tree certainly shows that limbs aren't perfectly placed.  The eye 'reads' the bird as being the focal point anyway and it appears to be sitting upright.  Two rows of chain stitched in variagated green, whipped with orange works with the composition much better.

What do you think?

Today your quote is from Evan Esar.... "Time: Nature's way of preventing everything from happening at once"


Friday, September 11, 2015

Well, you know what they say

Those of you who are crazy quilters know that there really are no rules and that pretty much anything goes, and for the most part that's quite true.  I considered not showing you this.  I thought about frogging it and I thought about covering it up and starting again so you wouldn't know what I did.  However, in the interest of full disclosure....

Can you see what I did?

Here's a small hint...

The fence and flowers are good - I like the pattern and it turned out well.  It fit perfectly in the section of fabric I was trying to fill.  BUT it's tilted the wrong way to suit the overall  piece.  Do you see what I mean in the first picture?  The fence itself is lined up with the seam line below it, which normally would be fine.  The pumpkin below it works okay (and it is lined up with the seam line).  But (and here's the problem), the fence/flowers motif simply does not look right.  It sticks out.  It hurts the composition.  It hurts my eyes to look at it.  (and I don't want to hear you tell me that it's okay because I know it isn't).

There are several options at this point.  I could unpick all those little cross stitches (which would take forever and would leave holes in the fabric that would be visible later on).  I could applique another piece of fabric over top and start again, but that would involve the tree I've already stitched on the left and I really like that tree. 

Although it's not ideal, I do have a solution (or at least I think I do!)  and I will show you that tomorrow. 

Today your quote is from Scott Adams.... "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep"

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

A bit more progress

First of all, thank you so much for all the lovely well wishes yesterday.  Jack and I had an outstanding steak dinner at a nice restaurant and the waiter brought us a gigantic dessert to share.  We waddled out of there quite stuffed but enjoyed every single bite!

I have made some progress on my crazy quilt pillow cover for fall....

Two more motifs added using cross stitch and waste canvas (I don't suppose you've noticed that I LOVE that technique!!).  The flower on the right was also done using waste canvas.  I had the little bees in my stash so they made a perfect addition.

Today the quote is from Charles Kingsley..... "We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about"


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Thirty six years ago

This man married me.


I'd do it all over again.
Love you Jack!!

Friday, September 04, 2015

I have finished the tree I showed you yesterday - I think.  I may add a few more green leaves to it just to help 'lift' it from the background a little more.  I also have a cute little owl button I plan to perch in the tree.

 I removed the waste canvas and then simply added lazy daisy stitches for leaves in various 'fall-ish' colours.  I also wrapped the tree trunk with another shade of brown to give it additional interest.

Unfortunately the true colours aren't showing in these photos and this next picture is a little blurry.  I've had a huge struggle getting these pictures to post to the blog right-size up, so I was happy to get as much as I did!

Stem stitch leaves,  spider web and buttonhole wheel stitches for the grapes, and couched metallic thread for the curlicues.

Pause here for a slight rant - Just had to buy a new cell phone, which in itself is not a bad thing (despite the fact that it's very rarely used and is just over two years old and shouldn't have needed replacing).  I buy the absolute cheapest thing I can find because it's just kept for emergencies and the odd very short call.  I don't have any desire to surf the web on my phone, and nor do I use it as my primary means of contact.  The rant part of this comes from the fact that I stood in the store for over an hour while one (one!!) person waited on several people - two of which she assisted ahead of me because their needs were 'short'.  Waa??  Another employee assessed each persons needs and that's the order they were looked after.  If I hadn't already been standing there for a very long time by that point I would have walked out.  I stuck it out because I imagine the line-up will be the same no matter when I went.  One of the 'perks' of living in a small town is that there isn't a whole lot of choice and you're pretty much stuck.  There....rant over.

Today the quote is from Sister Elizabeth Kenny....."As a girl my temper often got out of bounds.  But one day when I became angry at a friend over some trivial matter, my mother said to me, "Elizabeth, anyone who angers you conquers you"     I think I should have read those words before I went to the phone store!!

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Slow progression

There has been some stitching on my fall crazy quilt and here you can see what I managed to do yesterday....

I really love working with waste canvas (which I'm sure you have figured out by now!) and this was a great tree to create using that technique.  It was 'interesting' getting the threads removed - I think because the stitches were in all different directions.  My post tomorrow will show you what I did next with my tree.

Today the quote is from Jane Logan..... "When you're stressed is when you most need to look for all the ways that you're blessed"


Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Well, surprise, surprise.

There is something happening on the creative front at Chez Magpie!  I know, it came as a bit of shock to me too.  The colours in this photo aren't 'true' but it's all rusty golds and reds (with a tad bit of green) that will ultimately turn into a fall-themed crazy quilt pillow cover.  My plan is to make an interchangeable series of pillow covers that I can swap out with the seasons.  We'll see if my stick-to-it-ive-ness will end up coming unglued before I complete the entire series!!

Today your quote is from Joseph Addison.... "What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.  They are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable"  


Tuesday, September 01, 2015


I had a grand plan today of taking a photo of the fodder I have pulled from my stash for my next project.  Alas, the day has come and gone and now the light is gone and pictures will not be forthcoming.  This next project I will be able to share as I go along (don't all fall all over yourselves in relief that the looking back series has drawn to its excruciating demise!!).

Today your quote is from Bob Talbert...."Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best"