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, May 31, 2016

A story

Now, boys and girls, it's storytime.  Please sit in your seats and be quiet while Magpie tells a story...

Once upon a time, in a Magpie's world, there lived a silly lady.  She was of a 'certain age' and on occasion (rarely, very rarely) she might be just a little bit forgetful.  It's a condition that is found in ladies who also often find themselves going on a number of unexpected tropical vacations, if you get my drift.

Anyway, the Magpie spent a very long time typing three very large books all about her family and their history, and she even had them published.  Even more time passed, and the Magpie managed to sell a number of copies of her books which made her very happy.

More time passed, and one day the Magpie had a special request from a museum that wanted to add a copy of all three of her books to their collection.  Well, the Magpie would be honoured to do that very thing, but alas - when the Magpie went to the shelf to get the books there were none left of the second book.

Oh no!!

What to do?  What to do?

Well, it so happened that a very nice man had printed the books for the Magpie and perhaps he could be convinced to print just a tiny few more?  The Magpie hurried to the computer and sent off a pleading email and waited for an answer.

Oh happy day!  The very nice man could do that very thing, but it would cost a bit more because he would have to get another very nice man to hand bind them.  The Magpie sent him a happy email and asked that she be given a quote before proceeding (because, after all, this book publication business is not cheap).

Fast forward a week and a half and kiddos we find The Magpie and Mr. Magpie in the bedroom.  (now, now - no tittering you lot at the back - I can hear you!!).  We see the vacuum in the corner and the mattress standing at attention at the foot of the bed.  Mr. Magpie flexes his muscles, lifts the box spring, and what to their wondering eyes did appear?

Out of the cloud of dust that arose...

Ten copies of the wanted book!

Yes, TEN copies!!

'My goodness' exclaimed The Magpie!   '- - - - - -' exclaimed Mr. Magpie!!

'Never mind' said The Magpie.  'Nice book printing man hasn't sent a quote yet, so it will be okay'.

The Magpie hurried to the computer and wrote a very apologetic email to the nice man, explaining that she suffered from that horrible disease called 'mental-pause' and therefore could not be held accountable for her actions and begging his forgiveness.


The very next day the Magpie received an email.  Written by the very nice man.  It was a very nice email too.

But, guess what?  The very nice man was forgetful too!  He forgot all about the quote.  He printed five copies.  He bound five copies (by hand).  He had them ready to ship.  Oh dear!!

The Magpie remembers the days of
using the catalog for toilet paper.

Anybody want some?


Instead of a quote, I leave you with this....

Monday, May 30, 2016

Alas, no stitching...but....the reveal!

Not one single stitch today.  It was one of THOSE days where commitments, jobs and mundane things like (dare I say it) housework and balancing the cheque book take precedence over the fun things like stitching.  Tomorrow I'll be away all day, so it will be another sad day - I will be suffering from withdrawals I know!


- This one is for the knitters.  Are you like me and end up casting on too tightly and then having to wrestle with your first row of stitches?  Perhaps you might find the suggestion HERE to be useful.  Such a simple thing, but it might just be the answer.

- If you like sheep, there's a cute free cross stitch pattern HERE (it's a PDF).

- There's a sweet cross stitch needle book pattern (but could be used for other things as well) HERE.  And if you go to THIS link you can scroll down and find a whole raft of cute free patterns.

- I've been seeing a number of crocheted mandalas in my travels about the internet and I thought THIS   and  THIS   were intriguing,  and THIS is absolutely spectacular (please click through to see the originator of this one)!!  

Oh, and you're all so curious about what that mysterious 'thing' was I posted about on Friday?  Well, I hate to tell you that you are likely going to be sadly disappointed when you find out, but hopefully there will be a little grandson who is turning two in a few days who might be happy!  

That 'thing' you saw turned into this!

Which will go along with this, to make a happy little pirate!  Or at least I hope it will!

Today the quote is from Lauryn Hill...."Let me be patient, let me be kind.  Make me unselfish, without being blind.  I may have faith to make mountains fall, but if I lack love then I am nothing at all"

Friday, May 27, 2016

And now - for something a little different

To relieve a little of the boredom over seeing yet another postcard (and, more to the point, my not having any to show you today!), I thought I'd post a picture of a mystery project I'm working on.  

Now, what do you suppose this might be when it's done?

Today your quote is from Neil Armstrong.... "Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand"

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Number 11

Finished the 11th postcard this afternoon.
Eight more to go!

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is 'Apple Apricot' and today she has a really thought-provoking and interesting post about copyright and Pinterest which you can read HERE.  How many of us are guilty of pinning away without giving any thought to whether what we're pinning has been properly attributed to the original creator?  Have you found pictures of YOUR work appearing without due credit?  I know I have.  I don't get bent out of shape about it, but if I do happen upon some of my work that isn't attributed to me, I like to leave a tactful comment thanking them for liking my work well enough to pin it.  To date, every time I've done that, the pinner has been most apologetic and immediately rectified it.  I find being nice tends to work - there's no sense in wading in with guns a-blazin' because chances are the pinner has been entirely innocent and just simply isn't aware.  Now, having said that, and having read Wen's post today, I will be checking my pins and if I can't find the originator I will be removing them from my boards - or, as Wen suggests, make my boards private so that the things I pin are for my own reference and therefore not perpetuating the problem.  I suggest you go and read her post and give it some thought.

Today your quote, very fittingly, is from Bangambiki Habyarimana.... "Don't copy, get inspired"

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Number 10

Here's postcard # 10
The photo doesn't show that there's a 
lot of gold metallic on this one.

I meant to post about this site yesterday and managed to overlook it, so I'm sneaking a wee mumble in...

If you are interested in some very different types of embroidery stitches, there are some really different ones HERE.  Be sure to scroll down and check out what she has on her sidebar.  Some ideas I haven't seen before.

We had a marvelous weekend weather-wise here.  Today has been very warm and just the way I like it.  Albeit I do have the ceiling fan going in my sewing room!

Today your quote is from Elizabeth Johnson (and suits me to a 't')...
"Really I don't dislike to cook, but what you cook is eaten so quickly.  When you sew, you have something that will last to show for your efforts"

Monday, May 23, 2016

Another postcard and (dare I say it) a bit of mumbling

Over the weekend I finished postcard #9...

...and now, for the mumblings....

- Sharon Boggon has been hard at work re-vamping and moving her amazing (and free, I might add!) embroidery stitch dictionary.  Sharon is one of the most giving people I know of and if you are searching for how to do a particular stitch, or even to learn some new ones, be sure to bookmark THIS.  (p.s. - better pour yourself a BIG cuppa before you go!!).

- If you happen to be interested in creating a cross stitch chart from a favourite picture, there's a free online program called Pic 2 Pat and there's an excellent review of it HERE.  

- Gerry Krueger is working on a crazy quilt lace cottage and explains her design process HERE.  

Today your quote is another great one from Ralph Waldo Emerson... "People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character"

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fiddling and Postcard-ing

I guess my picture yesterday of the fiddleheads we acquired has raised questions as to what they are.  In my naive state I thought most people would know...oops.  
Doing a 'google' led me to this....
How to find, cook and freeze fiddleheads

Fiddleheads are one of the world's coolest greens. These unfurled fronds of the ostrich fern (matteuccia struthiopteris) are known as fiddleheads because they resemble the finely crafted head of a fiddle. Depending on the weather, they begin to appear around late April to early May along river and stream banks, in open woodlands and at the edges of swamps and marshes across New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. They are harvested when just a few inches off of the ground so they are still tender and tightly coiled.
Loaded with healthful properties (such as iron and potassium), fiddleheads are easy to cook and, like asparagus, have a delicate green flavour that is best accentuated by simple cooking.
How to cook fiddleheads
Fiddlehead preparation is easy. With a brush, carefully remove brown scales then wash well under cold running water to remove dirt before cooking; trim woody stems. Boil fiddleheads in lightly salted boiling water for 10 minutes (or steam for 20 minutes.) Serve at once with a drizzle of olive oil or melted butter and a squeeze of lemon.
Cooked fiddleheads can also be used like blanched or steamed asparagus in pasta, quiches or omelettes. They also make lovely salads when tossed with diced tomatoes and lemon-garlic vinaigrette.
Fiddleheads are found here in Canada at the local grocery store about this time of year....or, if you want to brave the mosquitoes and black flies, you can pick your own.  There, all you wanted to know about fiddleheads and more!!
Here's my latest postcard
(#8 of 19)

There have been a couple of inquires as to how I plan to mail these. The post office will accept them as they are (after I finish them properly that is!) and will hand-cancel them.  Some people choose to enclose them in a clear plastic sleeve prior to mailing.  I plan to put them inside a regular mailing envelope - mainly because I don't trust that they won't get damaged (or stolen!) in transit.
Just a little note for those of you who are considering purchasing a copy of Kathy Shaw's latest book (Crazy Quilting - Volume Two - Ribbon Embellishments) - the time for pre-orders is soon going to be over and after that you will have to pay full price.  If you're thinking about it, might be a good idea to get in on the good deal before the price goes up!  Go HERE.  
Talking about books made me go on a wee search for quotes regarding books/reading and of course I found a golden nugget by my favourite person - Ralph Waldo Emerson - "Some books leave us free and some books make us free"

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A few mumblings and another postcard

I know....I can hear the collective groan over there being yet more mumblings, but I can't help it.  I just have to share!!

--First of all, the latest free issue of the Knit Much magazine has gone live and it's another great one.  There are patterns (with a Downton Abbey theme); yarn reviews and several interesting techniques covered in this issue.  Go HERE to see it.

--Most of you have heard of the devastating fires in Fort McMurray and that many people have lost their homes and others have been displaced for the foreseeable future until they can repair the necessary infrastructure.  There are quilts being created for the people of Fort Mac and you can go HERE  on Super Mom, No Cape's blog to read about it, and HERE for a great free pattern for a maple leaf block that would be perfect for donating.  

--There's a free download for a cross stitch pattern of Big Ben that can be found HERE.  

Tonight a knock came at our door and it was our across-the-hall neighbour very generously offering to share her pickings of fiddleheads.  Needless to say, I wasn't long taking her up on it!! 

She gave us enough for at least a couple of meals.

One more postcard completed today.
#7 of 19.

Today the quote is from Mary Stuart...."To be kind to all, to like many, and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness"

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Today I like my mailman!

Most of the time he's a rather grumpy individual, but I can overlook his personality when he brings me delightful presents in the mail (and it's not even MY birthday!!).  The amazing Kim of 'Wisdom With Needle and Thread' is celebrating a milestone birthday this year and to honour that she is giving away 60 presents to her followers.  How generous is that?  I am the happy recipient of one of her gifts and thought I'd share with you my delight...

Kim made me a beautiful little needle book and included
the sweet Kewpie card.

There was a cute little cross stitch pattern
(which I already plan to use on a crazy quilt project!)
and some gorgeous fabric with 
coordinating embroidery floss....  

And do you see that amazing scissor fob in
the picture above?  She made that too!

Below is a closeup so you can the back of the 
needle book - isn't that fabric perfect?

Below is the inside of the needle book -
she has included two pockets for 
additional storage, along with the 
fabric tape measure trim.

Below is a close-up of the scissor fob -
the beads are sparkly (just as we magpies like!!)

Your birthday has made me very happy!!

Today I found a quote about birthdays  - "You are a wonderful source of joy.  May your special day bring you an extra share of everything that makes you the happiest in the world"

I know it's not Kim's birth day yet, but
this is my wish for her anyway.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A little more progress & some announcements (thinly disguised as mumblings!)

I spent much of the weekend working on the final edit of Kathy Shaw's upcoming book "Crazy Quilting Volume 2 - Ribbon Embellishments" - she is taking pre-orders HERE - and I can highly recommend it!  It's another in her series of really great crazy quilt books and I'm happy to say that, because I'm her proofreader, I get to read them first!!  Lucky me!

Kathy has also just announced a brand new online (free) class she's offering that's all about traditional (sane) quilting - a departure from her normal classes.  This one will concentrate on the creation of a series of mug rugs (which, btw, would make great gifts!) and in so-doing you will learn a number of different quilting patterns and techniques.  Go HERE for further info and to register.  You'll have to hurry though because she only leaves registrations open for a couple of days.

I must say that the mosquitoes that can be found HERE are just my style!  Go have a look and see if you don't agree.

Now, on to what else I did over the weekend...

Two more in the postcard series  

Today the quote is from Anatole France...."Some succeed because they are destined to; most succeed because they are determined to"

Friday, May 13, 2016

Little knitting

Today I have something a little different to show you.  Last night I finished knitting this little toy for the soon-to-be baby...

This was made using an orphan ball of sock yarn I had in my stash (and there's still enough in the ball that I could make a second one).  The pattern is 'Knubbelchen' and can be found on Ravelry HERE.   This little guy measures approximately 14" from the tip of his toes to the top of his hat.  

Your quote for today (unknown source)...  "First you have each other.  Then you have a baby.  And then you have everything"

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Another postcard and a couple of little mumblings

Just to prove that there really has been a little stitching accomplished at Chez Magpie....

oops - there's a thread on the poor girls cheek!

I thought you might like to see the sweet little teddy bear patterns to be found HERE  and HERE.  Even better is that they're free!

Cyra has posted the next part of her stunning crocheted Mandala Madness project and you can drool over that HERE.  

I love these little birdies HERE - but wouldn't dare fill them with lavender or I couldn't breathe.  OR how about her sweet little kitty pattern?

Today the quote is from Claude Shannon....." We know the past, but cannot control it.  We control the future, but cannot know it"

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Alas, no stitching, so guess what?

Never mind, I can hear you all chorusing 'mumblings,... again'?

But how be I console you with a look at the sweetest little baby deer you will ever see?  Go HERE.

Or maybe you might like to see some sweet patterns for use on plastic canvas (or crazy quilts) HERE.  These would make wonderful gifts!  

How about seeing a bunch of ways to use your empty thread spools HERE?

Or maybe you'd like to learn about raindrop cakes - and how to make them?  Go HERE for the how to.  Don't know what a raindrop cake is?....
Image from Chopstick Chronicles

How about patterns for making a blackwork (or any colour you'd like!) biscornus?  Pam Kellogg has released her book filled with wonderful patterns and the how to for making your own.  Go HERE to read her post!  I know these are on my list to make.

You might want to check out the links to tons of free embroidery patterns that can be found on Eglantine Stitchery HERE.  (Thanks for this one Judy!).  Be sure to make a pot of tea because there is lots to explore.

And finally, your quote for today...."To keep your marriage loving cup brimming, whenever you are wrong, admit it;  when you are right, shut up"

Monday, May 09, 2016

A little progress and a finish

Over the weekend I finished working on a crocheted afghan for (shhh) our grandson for Christmas.  He's just starting to play with Duplo and if our son has anything to do with it, he'll be a huge Lego fan as he gets older.  

Pattern is a free one from the Red Heart
site, called 'Building Blocks Throw'.
It can also be found on Ravelry.

And another stitched postcard front...

Today's quote...."A woman is young until she takes more interest in how her shoes fit, than her sweater"

Friday, May 06, 2016

Something special, some creating, and some thanks

I will begin with the thanks - thank you everyone for your kind words and prayers over the horrible fires that are burning out of control in Alberta.  For those that are concerned - I don't live anywhere near that area so we're quite safe.  As of the latest update there were twelve new fires as of yesterday, bringing the total number of fires in Alberta to forty - 5 remain out of control.  Very little rain is predicted in the immediate future and what little there might be is likely to evaporate before hitting the ground.  Today they are moving vehicles and people from north of Fort MacMurray through the city and onward towards cities in the south where there is help available.  The situation remains dire and prayers are very much needed for the people who have lost their homes and livelihood, along with the brave men and women who are fighting the fires.

On another, happier, note.  Something arrived in the mail today.  My #2 son and daughter-in-love spoiled me with a delivery of CHOCOLATE!!!  Do they know me, or what?

It's hard to tell in this picture but that long piece of chocolate is formed into something that looks like a tree limb.  

Almost (note, I said ALMOST) too pretty to eat!!

Thank you Shawn & Winnie!!!

I've completed the stitching on two of the postcards...

Today your quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson... "Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.  And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude"
And I wish all of you who are mothers
a very happy Mother's Day weekend.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Asking for prayers

I don't know if the wildfire that's burning out of control in Alberta, Canada is common knowledge throughout the world.  At this point the town of Fort McMurray is being consumed by fire and surrounding communities are now in danger.  Over 1600 homes have been totally destroyed and over 80,000 people have had to least 85,000 hectares of land has been affected (and those numbers are rising as the wind keeps driving the fire ahead of it).  The fire is burning so hot that the crews are totally unable to stop it.  Lightning is creating yet more fires (18 new ones yesterday and seven of those are totally out of control).    A state of emergency has been declared and the rest of the country is sending help.

Photo shared on twitter by 'JustDave'

Please pray that the weather changes 
and please pray for the people of Fort McMurray 
and the exhausted emergency crews.

Monday, May 02, 2016

I got nuttin, so you know what that means!!

There wasn't much happening on the stitching front over the weekend.  I did make a few more postcard-sized pieces for crazy quilting, but I've already shown you a bunch of those and I don't think seeing more would be very stimulating.  I *only* have nineteen of them waiting to be stitched!

I did want you to know that the latest issue of 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' is now available for purchase!  It's another great issue filled with fun things to create, eye candy and articles.  You can purchase either a print or digital copy HERE and see for yourself!

Pam Kellogg and her editorial team (of which I'm proud to say I'm a member) work very hard to bring you a quality production and we very much appreciate your support.

Vicki Boster of '2 Bags Full' has announced her latest charitable project (the 'Kindness Quilt Project') which we can all help to support.  Please go HERE to see what she's doing and consider helping out with her most worthwhile project.  I know I plan to!

Kim  of Wisdom With Needle and Thread has just announced that registrations are open for the ' 2016 Christmas In July Swap' (which sounds like a lot of fun!) and you can get more details HERE.  

This one is for the can go HERE to discover several suggestions of ways to make knitting more comfortable.  I'm sure it would be helpful for crocheters as well.

There's a cute  crocheted little dinosaur hand puppet pattern available HERE.

How about a sweet little Waldorf Pocket Doll pattern you can find HERE.  

Or what about a fun plantable felt vegetable garden play activity for little ones HERE?

I don't know if you've heard about the campaign to plant wildflower seeds to help our dwindling bee population.  We need the bees to pollinate our plants so we can continue to eat, so this is a pretty vital thing to consider taking part in.  For more information, have a look at the post Karen (of Toldolwen) did HERE.   If we each planted just a few seeds, just imagine the difference we could make!

Today your quote is from Og Mandino.... "Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight.  Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.  Your life will never be the same again"