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, December 31, 2015

Retrospective continued

Here are the rest of the highlights from the past year....


(in July I was doing a look back at  some of my work from previous 
years, so this is an old piece)


(the last of the three Quilt-zzzzz)





I would like to take the opportunity on this, the last day of 2015, to thank you, my faithful readers for taking the time to read my mumblings and for taking time out of your busy lives to leave comments when you can.  I never would have thought my humble little blog would be something anyone would want to read, much less on a regular basis.  I am thankful for each and every one of you.  Happy wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy and creative new year! 

Today your quote is from Brad Paisley.... "Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book.  Write a good one."

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Half of a retrospective

I thought, for the last couple of days of the year, that I would do a retrospective of some of the projects I've completed over the past year.  Most    some of you might find this fun.  I won't bore you with any blathering on about each picture - I'll just roll 'em out for your viewing pleasure...







I'll post the rest tomorrow.
(if you really want to find out more about any of
these projects - just check out that month in

my sidebar)

Today your quote is from Craig D. Lounsbrough...."The priceless lesson in the New Year is that endings birth beginnings and beginnings birth endings.  And in this elegantly choreographed dance of life, neither ever find an end in the other"

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Silent Night - Holy Night

This will be my last post before Christmas,
so I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite 
Christmas decorations.

For eight years I was an Avon rep and at one point they had this beautiful Nativity set on offer.  I loved it and started collecting it bit by bit.  I never did get all the pieces and, hindsight being what it is, now I wish I had.  It's one of the most beautiful sets I've seen and every year it's so special to set it up and enjoy it.  Jack got me the barn/manger which goes with it perfectly (it wasn't part of the original set and was one he picked up in a store somewhere).  

When I was growing up we lived on a farm and didn't have much money for many things beyond keeping the farm going.  One of the Christmas ornaments we had was this tiny angel...

As I recall, she came on top of a box of chocolates that were gifted to us.  Many of you might remember when the prices on grocery items were hand stamped - the price on the back of her reads 49 cents.  She was always the angel that hung on the top of our tree and she still enjoys a place of honour.

Our current treetop 'angel' is this sweet little bear - a gift from a friend.

This is another of my favourite ornaments...

as is this one...handmade by a friend...

and this wee hooked mouse, also by the same friend...

You can also see (if you embiggen the picture) a little picture of my boys - now considerably bigger than they were then!!). I love the old cartoon version of 'The Grinch' so he also lives on our tree.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas - to you, and to those you love.

I will leave you with the immortal words of Charles Dickens...  

It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that be truly said of us, and all of us!  And so, as Tiny Tim observed...

God Bless Us, Every One!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Another finish

There's only one problem with declaring myself finished with making Christmas gifts too soon.  I then cast about and look for more to make!  

Awhile ago I was the lucky winner of a bundle of 5" fabric squares from Annett of KnettyCraft. I thought quite seriously about making a quilt from them (but I suspect you all know how I feel about making sane quilts!!) a vote of thanks to my friend MEK for the suggestion)....

This will be included in with another Christmas gift.  Thank you Annett!!

And, remember yesterday I told you about my steering clear of the kitchen whilst flour and raisins and 'goo' were being thrown about?  Well, here is the result...

Butter tarts by Jack.

Refrigerator cookies by MA.

And several little tins of these....

Would you like the recipe for how to make the candies?  SO simple.  SO good!!!


- A bunch of square pretzels (they look sort of like an 
oversized Shreddie cereal, probably available at your
local bulk food store)

- A package (or 6, depending on how many you
want to of Rolo Candies 
(they come in rolls of 10 where you buy
chocolate bars)

- a bunch of half pecans (again, quantity 
depends on how many you want to make).

Preheat oven to 200.  Place pretzels onto
cookie sheet and top each with a Rolo candy.
Place in oven for about 2 mins (or until the 
tops turn shiny)
Remove from oven and immediately
press a pecan half on top.
Refrigerate til set.
(oh yeah - and taste test a few before refrigerating -
just to be sure they're fit for gift giving).

Go back to store and get more supplies
because you've already eaten them all
and don't have any left for giving.

(Thanks MEK for the recipe!)

Today your quote is from Dr. Seuss.... "It came without ribbons!  It came without tags!  It came without packages, boxes or bags!...Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!  "Maybe Christmas ," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas....perhaps....means a little bit more!"

Monday, December 21, 2015


Computer woes are figured out!  I think they are anyway.  Thanks be to #2 son (and Boud's son too) there has been a remedy suggested and, with much trepidation, applied.  So far, fingers crossed, so good!

For those of you that are having issues with your internet server talking nicely to your anti-virus's what I ended up doing.  I'm running Windows10 and Kaspersky for my anti-virus and had Firefox for my internet.  My computer (unbeknownst to me, I might add) did an update and that meant that Firefox and Kaspersky were no longer friends.  (Yeah - and it's the season of brotherhood to man too - how dare they).  So...the suggestion was made that I should switch my Firefox to Chrome.  It was a really easy thing to do and lo - it seems to have fixed the problem.  It seems that Win10 plays nicely with Chrome, but there are bullying issues with Firefox.  

Now, on to a couple of projects that got finished over the weekend...

All three of the men in my family love to cook (one is a chef by trade), so they are each receiving a set of these hot mats.

The fabric was gifted to me by Sue of SuperMomNoCape....thank you Sue!!

This is a little baby blanket that I crocheted for a little one that will be arriving in the spring.

The pattern is now my favourite (thank you MEK!!).  It's a fairly basic one, but I then add a border around the outside in varying patterns as the whim strikes me.

A close-up of the pattern.

I'm playing on the computer today.  I am staying out of the kitchen.  I am not going anywhere near it.  No way. No how.  Not if I value my life.  

DH is making copious amounts of butter tarts.

Flour is flying everywhere.

There's goo on everything.

There's fire in his eye.

Yes, I'm staying outta there!!

Today your quote is from W. J. Cameron... "There has been only one Christmas - the rest are anniversaries"

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Drat, darn, and various and assorted other words that aren't fit to print

If I disappear off the face of the earth (better known as the internet) please don't be worried.  It appears that my computer is having 'issues' and my anti-virus program no longer is supported by my operating system.  All of which is causing all sorts of problems that I have NO clue how to fix.

As of this moment all of my emails that were in my Hotmail account have I can't reply to you.  No reason why THAT has happened.  Nor is there any reason that suddenly my blog is telling me that my 'browser is no longer supported' so that means there are issues with it too.

I will have to wait until Monday to 'call somebody' and see if I can get them to come and rectify the problem(s).  Good luck at getting someone this close to Christmas!!

SO.....just in case I can't get back on here (or, heaven forbid, my blog disappears like my email account did) I will wish you a very happy Christmas.  Be safe, eat lots, and love your family and friends.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Tah Dah (sort of)

As promised, here's a picture of the Christmas pillow cover (stuffed with the pillow and currently sitting on the couch in our living room)....

The 'sort of' part of the post title pertains to the fact that I really want to put a nice wide piece of ecru eyelet lace around the outside to finish it off.  I think I mentioned that my stash let me down (horrors!!) and didn't yield any that was long enough.  Rather than not use the pillow this year I opted to finish it anyway and will simply add the lace after I've made a trip to the fabric shop. 

Today your quote is from Craig Lounsbrough.... "Maybe the greatest hope of Christmas is that what it purports to be is exactly what it is" 


Thursday, December 17, 2015


....there are no photos of my Christmas pillow for you today.  It was a horrible miserable dull day with only tiny little glimmers of sun - none of which happened when I was home to grab the camera.  Fingers crossed for sun tomorrow and if there is, you will get pictures.

As of this moment my social obligations surrounding the Christmas season are at an end and I have a few days to sit back and enjoy myself.  There might be a couple of teeny little things happening in my sewing room, but otherwise I think there might just be more than a few cups of hot chocolate (some of it...shhh....might even be served with a little splash of Irish Cream...just for medicinal purposes you understand), maybe a few Christmas cookies being nibbled, and just general sloth-ism.  Knowing me, it might last a day.

Today your quote is from Sigrid Undset...." And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans - and all that lives and moves upon them.  He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused - and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself"

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Another pillow 'bit' and some gifties

This shows another bit of my pillow cover.  The entire thing measures approx. 15" square.  It's sewn up now and sitting on my couch, but it's not 'finished'.  It still needs a piece of wide eyelet trim to finish it off (at least in my mind anyway). Unfortunately my stash let me down and there's none to be had until I made a trip to the fabric shop.  I'll show you the pillow next time.

Today I finished up making several more of the makeup bags (and one shaving bag) that will be used as little gifties for Christmas. 

These are super quick to make - and great for stash-busting.  I made these larger than the pattern called for and sized them to make use of various sized zippers I already had in my stash. 

Today your quote is from Harlan Miller... "I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month"

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Trees and CQ

Here's another bit of my Christmas pillow cover...

Over the weekend I hauled out the Christmas decorations and I thought you might like to see our tree.  It's artificial, of course - we're not allowed real trees in our apartment buildings due to fire regulations.

Yesterday I told you I was playing about with salt and spices and here's the result!

This assortment of flavoured salts was easy to make and will hopefully make someone happy at Christmas.

Today your quote is from Roy L. Smith... "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree"

Monday, December 14, 2015

and some more

Another little tidbit of my Christmas pillow cover...

Today there was a lot of stirring and mixing and playing with flour, salt and spices ** in our kitchen as I created some more Christmas sharings.  Many of you will remember the old-fashioned refrigerator cookies?  I haven't had any for years, so thought it might be time to try them again for inclusion in our tins of Christmas baking.  These will go along with Jack's famous butter tarts and some fudge. 

Here's the recipe I'm using...


1 cup each of shortening and white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

I used the mixmaster to combine the shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Combine four, salt & baking soda and add to creamed mixture.

Divide into three portions and roll each to about 7" long.
(you can roll the outside in coloured sugar, but it's a PIA!)
Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until cold.

You can either bake them now by slicing into 1/4" slices
and baking on a greased cookie sheet for 8-10 mins in 375 degree oven
OR you can freeze the dough until ready for use.

You can decorate each cookie (before baking)with a piece of 
maraschino cherry, chopped nuts,
a large chocolate chip, or whatever you want!

** Please note, the salt and spices I refer to have nothing whatsoever to
do with these cookies.  Explanation for that will come tomorrow! **

Today your quote is from Bob Hope... "My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” 


Friday, December 11, 2015

Another little section

Here's another section of my Christmas pillow cover....

I loved this image of Santa that I found on the internet, so I printed him onto fabric and included him on my pillow cover, along with a vintage tatted doily and a button cluster.

Today your quote is from John Miller.... "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life"

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas CQ - Part Two

Because you saw the nativity part in the picture yesterday, I thought I'd show you a close-up of that today, along with the skaters.

Today your quote is from Albert Schweitzer.... "Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace"

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

A little bit of Christmas CQ-ing

For your viewing pleasure (?!) I am going to break up posting pictures of my Christmas-themed pillow cover into several posts.  The simple reason for doing that is I gots me nuttin' else to show you!!  At least for the present moment.  There's been a lot of social things going on at Chez Magpie and therefore not much time for creativity.  And to top that off, I stumbled across a rather small goldmine of information down the rabbit hole rather more commonly known as Ancestry and I've been exploring and updating my family records.'s part one of my Christmas pillow cover...

I belong to a number of mailing lists form various places and quite often someone posts a good 'funny'.  This one I felt I just had to share.....
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Tech Support,
Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slowdown in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and installed undesirable programs such as NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1.
Conversation 8.0 no longer runs and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail. What can I do?


tech support 

Dear Desperate,
First, keep in mind that Boyfriend 5.0 is an entertainment package while Husband 1.0 is an operating system. Please enter the command: "I thought you loved me.html", download Tears 6.2 and be sure to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If those applications work as they were designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

However, please remember that overuse of the above applications may cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1. Please note that Beer 6.1 is a risky application that may download the Snoring Loudly Beta program.

Whatever you do, DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.)

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall Boyfriend 5.0 while on Husband 1.0. This program is unsupported and will crash the system.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but does have limited memory and doesn't learn new applications quickly. You may consider running additional software to improve both memory and performance of the system. We recommend Cooking 3.0 and Hot_Lingerie 7.7.

Tech Support

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


Today your quote is from Kevin Costner.... "Life's better when it's fun.  Boy, that's deep, isn't it?"


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Books, Knitting and Mumblings

Today we have a little bit of everything for you here at Chez Magpie.  First of all, there was great excitement here a few days ago when several large cases of my third (and final!!) books arrived at my door.  The poor postal person was definitely in need of a lie down once he hauled the heavy cases up to the apartment! 

Here you can see all three of my books.  'Self Doing Naught' was the first in the series and is a transcript of the diaries that were written by my great-great grandfather and was published in 2010.  Volume One of 'Did Little But the Chores' was published in 2014 and was written by the son of my gr-gr grandfather (my great uncle).  He was a prolific writer and so I ended up dividing his words into two books - Volume Two is what just arrived.  The first two books are approximately 500 pages (double columned) each and the final one came in at just over 370.  Seven years it took - and was a labour of love throughout.

I don't know if I mentioned here that I was asked to proofread a book for Kathy Shaw (Shawkl) and my copy just arrived in the mail.  What an honour it was to have even a little part in this one! 


And, finally, there's even knitting content on this blog!  Amazing, huh?

This is a cobbled-together-from-three-patterns sock that I've come up with.
Knitted toe up using Paton's Kroy Sock Yarn.

My quote of the day is from an anonymous source.... "It's not the face, but the expressions in it.  It's not the voice, but what you say.  It's not how you look in that body, but the things you do with it"

Monday, December 07, 2015

Another little project

Over the weekend I decided I would make a wee makeup bag for one of my friends.  I already have a gift made for her, but another little add-on won't come amiss.  This will be perfect to hold her supplies for doing her nails.

This is a little bag, measuring approx. 6x3x3".
I plan to make more but will increase the size in
order to be truly a makeup bag.  There might even
be a few done for shaving bags for the guys.

Today the quote is from a fellow blogger Janie Krig..... "Use what you have, where you are, and some really amazing things can happen"    I love this one!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Another dose of mumblings

Well, at least you can think of it this way - my mumblings taste better than a dose of Buckley's cough medicine!  At least I hope they do!!

The quote for today is from Neale Donald Walsch... "A five-word sentence that could change the world tomorrow is "What would love do now?"


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

A winter project

I spent much of this afternoon with Christmas music playing and wrapping gifts, which I'm happy to say are all done, with the exception of one or two. Over the weekend I finished putting my winter-themed pillow cover together and I thought you might like to see the finished project...

Many of you will remember that this piece was the 'January block'
for Pam Kellogg's 2015 crazy quilt calendar.