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, 2015

Whooo Whoooo

Over the weekend I spent some time playing at making this little fellow.  I found the pattern/tutorial on the internet and simply couldn't NOT make one for our little grandson.  It's a combination pillow/stuffie, measures about fourteen inches tall, and is made from fleece.  Just right for a little boy to curl up with.

The pattern is called 'Sleepy Time Stuffed Owl'
by Liz Johnson 
and the pattern can be found HERE 

Today your quote is from Robert Louis Stevenson.... "Make up your mind to be happy.  Learn to find pleasure in simple things" 


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

tentatively pushing the button.....deep breath......




If you didn't read my post yesterday you won't have a clue what all the wooing and whooping is all about.  Suffice to say I am absolutely jumping up and down that I figured out how to make my camera and my computer talk nicely to one another....all by myself. my own self.....alone.  After two days of saying not-so-nice things to myself and a great deal of muttering and blue air, I hit upon the bright idea of doing a 'system restore' which my Computers For Dummies book said was something not to be afraid of.  So....I pushed all the appropriate buttons (with a great deal of trepidation, I might add!!) and watched as the computer chugged away doing mysterious and terrifying things known only unto itself.

THEN, I, with even more trepidation, opened up my pictures file and plugged in my camera.  AND IT WORKED!!!    Eureka!!  Party Time!!  

Computer Guru-ism, here I come!!   

Oh, and for those of you who might be curious to know what the pictures ARE.....remember The Quilt-zzzz from earlier this year?  Remember that there were blocks left over?   Well, this is the resulting quilt from the leftovers, with the addition of the black print fabric.  Almost big enough for a double bed - probably would be fine as a bed topper.  For now, it will reside over the pullout couch in my sewing room.
Today the quote is from Bo Bennett...."Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success"

Monday, November 23, 2015

hair tearing, angst, and (horrors) even swearing....

Frustration runs rampant at Chez Magpie at the moment.  For some reason, known only unto the computer gremlins, my camera no longer wants to discuss the facts of life with my computer.  The pictures will download into some obscure spot that I've never encountered before and then flatly refuse to save themselves anywhere.  No amount of wrangling on my part will allow me to do anything with them. 

Oh yeah, the air has been blue.
And most any other colour you can think of.

To make matters worse, it now appears that ALL my pictures AND my documents have managed to save themselves into at least five different places on my computer.  

Computer gremlins?
I'm serving notice.
Get thyselves GONE
or there's going to be h-e-double-hockey-sticks to pay!!
So there.

(Do you suppose they're scared?).  Anyway....out of all this angst came one good thing.  I think.  I discovered that the little camera thingie we use when Skype-ing with our son and daughter-in-love has the capability of taking still photos.  Who knew?  I certainly didn't!  Imagine my astonishment when it took a selfie of me - totally unbeknownst to me!!   Needless to say, I won't be showing you THAT one, but I did get another one that I WILL share. 

Here I am, silly grin and all.

Silly grin?  Or hysteria?
Take your pick!

Today, beyond giving you a list of the swear words I managed to utter today, I give you this, instead of a quote....

Saturday, November 21, 2015


So, folks, send me photos of your crazy quilting.  We want to see it and we'd love to have your work in our 2017 calendar!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Last one!

Here's the final Christmas present I'm creating this year!

This is postcard-sized and I think you can 
click to embiggen the picture.

Today the quote is a Native American proverb.... "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children"

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Another instalment of mumblings

I'm working on a little crazy quilted project which I hope to be able to show you tomorrow, so in the meantime I thought perhaps I'd mumble....

1.  Karen Ruane has announced a new on-line class called 'Patched Pockets' which will be starting in January.  Wish I had made bigger inroads into my to-do list and my pile of UFO's so I could play along, but I have to be disciplined.  I do.  But you can go HERE and read all about the new class and sign up if you'd like to!  I'd highly recommend it.

2. Karen of Todolwen has posted a really cute crocheted poppy pattern and you can find it HERE.  I love this one!

3.  Kathy Shaw is doing a happy dance because her book  "Crazy Quilting Volume 1: Beyond the Basics'" is going to be ready to ship by Dec. 1st through her Etsy shop and because Amazon has it available early on their site (as well as there being a Kindle edition....which means an instant read for those of you that have that technology).  Go HERE to read more about that!  There's still time to order it for a reduced price through Etsy too!!

4.  There's a really sweet little embroidered ornament tutorial available HERE  and there's a  free chart for a cute little cross-stitched Christmas bear HERE.  

5.  For those of you who knit or crochet and are looking for some last-minute gift ideas to create, have a look at all the patterns that are available HERE.  

There. that should keep you busy for a little bit!

Today the quote is from Corita Kent.... "Doing and making are acts of hope, and as that hope grows, we stop feeling overwhelmed by the troubles of the world"

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A tutorial - who knew?

It's been a very long time since I did any sort of tutorial on my blog and as I created this little project this morning I thought perhaps I might share it with you.  It worked up very quickly so it's certainly do-able for some little Christmas presents (which is what this one is for).

Isn't this little strawberry needle case the cutest?

So, here's the tutorial (please let me know if you make any, because I'd love to see them!).


You will need the following supplies:  red and green felt; a piece of Freezer Paper (optional); yellow and red pearl cotton or embroidery floss; 1 green bead; scrap of Heat N Bond (optional).
NOTE: Print the pattern on a full-size 8 1/2 x 11" piece of paper.

Trace the patterns onto either paper or Freezer Paper.  You can either iron the Freezer Paper onto the felt prior to cutting out the pieces OR simply pin your paper pattern onto the felt.  I like to use the Freezer Paper because it holds in place really well, making your cuts on the felt more accurate.  It peels off really easily and can be re-used a couple of times if you're making more than one needlebook.

Cut two of the larger strawberry shapes, one of the smaller shape and one of the leaf from felt.  Using yellow pearl cotton (or 6 strands of embr. floss) stitch 'seeds' randomly over one of the larger strawberry shapes.  

Either pin the two larger shapes together OR use some small scraps of HeatNBond to adhere them together.  Using red pearl cotton (or floss) stitch the pieces together around the outside using buttonhole stitch.  

Place outer and inner strawberry shapes together and, using the sewing machine, stitch along the fold line.  Stitch two or three tacking stitches about 1/4" away from the seam (helps to hold the needlebook nicely closed).

Adhere the leaf to the front, using a green bead to hold in place.

Today the quote is from Dale Carnegie.... "When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us:  power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness.  Our enemies would dance with joy if only they knew how they were worrying us, lacerating us, and getting even with us.  Our hate is not hurting them at all, but our hate is turning our days and nights into a hellish turmoil"

Monday, November 16, 2015

And now, for a little Christmas

I've spent the past few days working on some Christmas things (and about time too!).  Remember that white blob I showed you last week?  Well I turned a number of them into this...

Seven not-so-edible pincushions!

The little strawberries are filled with emery.

The patterns/idea came from  (the cake); (the whipped cream) and (the strawberry).  Of course I made some minor changes to all the patterns.   


an ornament
(x 18)

These were positively addictive to make!

The pattern for these was found HERE (it's a PDF file).  I also watched a you tube video to be sure I had it right.  The PDF pattern called for a piece of quilt bat inside the ornament, but I saw several other patterns that didn't, so I didn't put any in mine either.  I really don't think it is necessary to the overall look.

* * * * * * * 
I have searched for the right words to express my sorrow over the horrible events that happened in Paris over the weekend.  One can only feel such sorrow for the people of France, and particularly those in Paris.  I found a quote that I think is appropriate for the people of Paris ...  "You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have".     All we can do is pray.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Now what you you suppose.....

....I might be doing with this?.....

Stay tuned....

Today your quote is from Dorothy Dix.... "I  have learned to live each day as it comes, and not to borrow trouble by dreading tomorrow.  It is the dark menace of the future that makes cowards of us"


Thursday, November 12, 2015

More mumblings

Yes, I know, some people have been known to say that I'm full of hot air, so I suppose that's why all you seem to be getting from me these days are mumblings.  There's been precious little on the creative front happening at Chez Magpie over the past couple of weeks (at least not of the sort that I'm able to show you at the moment).

 You are getting more mumbling!!

1.  SuperMomNoCape (love that name!) has a wonderful tutorial to make a Prairie Point Star Christmas ornament HERE.  This would be a great stash-buster!

2.  There is a really cute cross stitch snowman ornament pattern available HERE  

3.  Pat Winter has been working on some fun digests and her latest ones are HERE  (a shibori butterfly) and HERE  (a sewing case). 

4.  The EAC has released a couple more lines for their band sampler pattern and they can be found HERE

5.  Kathy Shaw (Shawkl) has announced that registrations will be taking place for the 2016 Crazy Quilt Journal Project (CQJP) starting on Nov. 13 and through to Dec. 20.  My goodness, this lady is busy!!  Rather than my trying to explain the details about CQJP-2016, how about you go HERE and read what Kathy has to say about it!  I've never taken part in this, but from what I've seen around and about the blogs of those that have, there is a lot of fun to be had!  

6.  For those of you with kids (or those of us who are closet Lego lovers) there are some fun ideas HERE.   

And, just for fun.....

Today the quote is a Swedish Proverb...."Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; love more, and all good things will be yours" 


Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Today I am excited to announce two things!

First of all, Kathy Shaw (Shawkl) has just announced that her new book is now available for pre-orders!  "Crazy Quilting - Volume I - Beyond The Basics" is a wonderful book (I know - because I was honoured to be Kathy's proofreader!!).  It is the first of what will be a series of books, based on the free online crazy quilting classes she has been offering for the past couple of years.  There is lots of new content in this book, so if you have taken her classes already you will definitely find the book to be a good addition to your library.

Amazon will be carrying the book at a cost of $29.40, but Kathy is currently taking pre-orders through her Etsy Shop and you can reserve a copy there for the reduced cost of $20.60 (plus shipping and handling).  The books are slated to be shipped before the first week of December (Christmas present idea??).  For further information go HERE and to pre-order you can go HERE. 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The second announcement concerns those wonderful stencils created by Sharon Boggon that I mentioned a few days ago.  They are now available!!  You can purchase yours by going HERE.   I use the first series of stencils quite often in my work and I was quick to order this set to add to my embroidery tools.

Today the quote is from Laurence Sterne...."Every time a man smiles, and much more when he laughs, it adds something to his fragment of life" 


Monday, November 09, 2015

Warning - rant to follow - read at own risk

Yes, I am going to rant.  However, I am giving you fair warning so you can go elsewhere and read something far more interesting I'm sure.  

Still here?  Well, don't say you weren't warned!!
My first mistake was getting out of bed on Saturday.  I realized, as the day progressed, that I shouldn't have.

Mid-afternoon the phone rang and call display said it was (supposedly) our Visa credit card company.  Hmmm....said I....probably a I didn't answer it.  No....they left a message to call them.  Oh oh.  

I called, and got a person who just got off the stupid train.  Obviously a one-way train at that.  In order to supposedly confirm that I was who I said I was, she needed to ask me a number of questions.  All of those questions would have been easily answered (correctly) by any person who was up to no good.  I asked her why she wasn't requiring my so-called 'security code' and she didn't know what that was.  Say wha....????  At that point, I hung up, fairly convinced it WAS a scam.

Called the # on the back of the credit card and got another person (she'd been on the back of the train with the other one) who confirmed that Person #1 was, indeed, legit.  Okay.  Now what.  Apparently, totally unbeknownst to us we have managed to change our address to a place in British Columbia and THEN to a place in Quebec (funny - I don't remember moving).  THEN she decided to argue with me that our previous address could simply NOT be the one we actually DID previously live at and insisted that it had to be in British Columbia.  Dumb. As. A. Post.    (Did I mention that my blood pressure is normally so low that it alarms most medical people?  I think, by this point, said blood pressure was off the charts in the OTHER direction!!).  

Finally got her sorted out (I think) and the next step was to wait until today and phone the two credit reporting agencies here in Canada and ask them to 'red flag' our account (so that they have to contact us should there be any unusual activity).  Made sense.  Right?

Well, I was on the phone this morning first thing to Credit Reporting place #1.  It's one of those automated things - push 1 for this, push 2 for that, push 3 for.....(well, you get the picture).  Unfortunately, with all this pushing of buttons and waiting through all the options, their system insisted on kicking me out which required me starting over at the beginning.  Several times.  (see above note regarding blood pressure)

....oh.....and did I mention that we had the carpet cleaners booked to arrive at 9 am?.....

Finally managed to wrangle a real-live person.  And guess what?  She got off the SAME train!!!!  It was simply impossible that we didn't live in Montreal.  She finally decided that she would 'change our address' in the system, but as for doing anything so smart as to red flag our account, why no.  She couldn't possibly do that.  I would have to fax in the proper form.  What form?  And where do I get it?  Oh, sez she (quite vaguely).....I think it's on the website.  ARGH!!!  

Found form, filled in form, faxed in form.  Now how much to you want to bet they'll get said form and take one look at our address and say 'but you live in Montreal' and don't do anything?  

Carpet cleaner came and went and I mustered my courage and called the second credit agency.  After two minutes of canned music I got a real-live person.  She listened to my tale of woe.  She understood.  She did the proper things with her computer.  It took less than fifteen minutes.  I wanted to kiss her feet.   

...oh, and did I mention that the building superintendent arrived at the door in the midst of all this to tell us that there'd been a mix-up with our automatic debit for our rent?  And that we owed them money?.......

At that point, we left.  We locked the door and got out of town.  

Never let it be said that life doesn't get complicated at Chez Richardson!!

And....instead of a quote today....

'nuff said.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Are you up for more mumbling?

I hope you are, because otherwise I got nuttin' that I'm able to show you.

Unless you want to see a ball of yarn that might, or might not, be turned into a pair of socks. 

Unless you want to see my messy studio.

Unless you want to see that you can't sit on the couch in my studio.

Unless you want to see my pile of UFO's.


Maybe you want to see my new sewing chair?


Well then, I guess I'll just send you elsewhere to
see what other people (far more interesting than I)
are doing....

- For those of you who like to crochet, there's a cute little snowman HERE.   He'd look great on a Christmas tree or used as a parcel topper.

- There's a good article on snow dyeing fabric HERE.  It's the beginning of a series so you might want to keep checking back as new posts come up. 

-For those of you who have children who are lovers of Lego (and for those of you who are closet adult Lego-lovers!), there are lots of things to create for Christmas HERE.

- For the quilters among you - go HERE for a good quilt size chart and HERE for information about different types of batting.  The article about batting is part one, so there will be a follow-up post later on.

- Kathy Shaw (Shawkl) has opened registrations again for her free Basic Crazy Quilt Course (BCQC) and you can sign up until midnight November 7.  This is the last chance for this class for this year.  In 2016 Kathy plans to continue to offer these  basic classes, approximately every three months throughout the year.

- Sharon Boggon has announced on her blog that she has produced a new set of her very-popular embroidery stencils and that they will be available soon.  I use her first set ALL the time and can highly recommend them.  Obviously my credit card is primed and ready to purchase a set of her new ones as soon as they are officially available.  You can go HERE to read about them (and to get a sneak peak at what the designs will be). 

Today the quote is from Maurice Setter.... "Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold" 


Monday, November 02, 2015

Tah Dah! (and other stuff)

First of all, and most importantly, the brand new winter issue of 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' is now available!!  This one features cover artist Kathleen Klein; a beautiful Christmas crazy quilt from Linda Steele; some really cute Christmas patterns; and lots more.  I continue my 'Crazy Quilting For Beginners' column and there just might be an article in there about the use of waste canvas too.  Each issue just keeps getting better and better so you should hurry over HERE and buy your copy (either digital OR print, or both!!). 
Pam is already starting to work on the Spring issue (isn't that something wonderful to contemplate?) and is currently looking for YOUR input.  You can go HERE to see what sorts of things we are looking for.  Please do consider submitting something to the magazine - we are anxious to see your work and anything crazy quilt related that you would like to share.  Please remember (and I've said this before) the magazine is only as good as YOU help us make it!

Remember all the excitement the other day over my finishing getting my old family diaries ready for publication?  Well, I thought perhaps you might like to see a page of what I was working from...

For a man with a very limited education, his handwriting was very legible.  Sometimes his spelling was a trifle 'creative', but that certainly would be expected.  The book is now off to the publisher and should be printed within the next two or three weeks.

And ....for lack of anything of the stitching sort to share today, how about a picture of a knitting project I just finished?  

Although it's hard to tell in this picture the yarn is metallic copper
and those buttons have rhinestone edges.  Bling doesn't seem to
photograph well.

It's a Christmas present!

Today your quote is from A. W. Tozer.... "Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will"