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, December 30, 2016

Assorted bits and bytes

Christmas this year was great.  I rarely am gifted with anything connected to creativity and this year I received several things, one of them being this beautiful piece of fabric art...

Created by Lynda Noe
of Scissors & Silk Studio
Gore Bay, Ontario

I think you can click the picture to embiggen if you'd like.  I love this piece and it was accompanied by not one, but two, online classes from Craftsy, both of which will help me to learn to create my own fabric pictures.  Woo hoo!!!  

One of the other special gifts I received was a beautiful antique gold necklace, gifted to me by our daughter-in-love.  The necklace belonged originally to her paternal great grandmother and is a family heirloom for sure.  It made me cry that she would want to give me such a precious piece of her family history.  Once I have it cleaned I will share a picture so you can see how wonderful it is. 

Your quote today is from Arnold Bennett...."The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance.  The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life.  You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose"

Finally, I want to extend my very best wishes to you and yours for the very best that the new year can hold.  May it be filled with joy, laughter, love and many hours filled with new leaves.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The aftermath

The hectic part of the season is over and now it's time for the cocooning to begin (at least here at Chez Magpie).  After Christmas for me has always been a time to sit down and delve into as many books as I can manage to read until the urge passes.  The projects for Christmas giving are done and nothing new is clamoring to be created (not to say that the to-do list isn't trying to attract attention!).  My studio is as tidy as it ever gets and I hate the thought of messing it up, at least for a few days.  

I think this was one of the best Christmases I've ever had.  I actually got a few things that are for creating with - something I am always happy to get and rarely do.  I was even given a couple of online classes through Craftsy - both of them about creating pictorial quilts which is something I have wanted to try out for some time.  I have a glimmer in my brain that I would like to attempt to re-create old decrepit barns in fabric.  So many of them are falling down in total disrepair and nobody seems to care. Perhaps trying to recreate them in fabric might be a good thing.  On the other hand, the technique is so far removed from my normal range of ability and I'm quite truthfully terrified to even try it. Maybe now I've put my dream into print and shared it with you I will be honour bound to at least give it a try!

Alas there are no pictures of my creations to share with you today, so how about I show you one of Jack's creations instead?  

We spent Christmas with our #1 son, daughter-in-love and grandson and their dinner theme was 'southwestern'.  Pecan pie is, of course, part of that.  Jack is well known for his amazing butter tarts, so it wasn't much of a stretch to create a pecan pie.

Your quote for today is another one from an anonymous source...  "Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets.  So, love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don't.  And believe that everything happens for a reason....if you get a chance, take it; if it changes your life, let it. Nobody said that it would be easy.  They just promised it would be worth it"

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas wishes

To you, 
and those you hold most dear,
we wish to extend our best wishes
for a very happy, healthy, and safe

Thursday, December 22, 2016

First of all, I want to share one of the pieces of music that I find the most meaningful this time of year.  It's not an old carol and I don't think it's one that you will likely hear too much on the radio.  However, it reflects the true meaning of the season and has the additional side effect of making my cry every single time I hear it (and no, it isn't sad....just beautiful).  Please go HERE for my Christmas gift to all of you.  

Today your quote is one I know I share every year, primarily because I am obviously still a kid at heart and never grew out of my love for Dr. Seuss and The Grinch...  "And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.  "What if Christmas", he thought, "doesn't come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Another search

Another search for something to show you today yielded this...not very exciting perhaps and not a great picture, but desperation is as desperation does!!

and I noticed, after I took the picture, that one of the
beads on one of the ornaments is crooked.  oops!

Every year I create a series of ornaments for gifting; some are gifts in and of themselves, and others are used as 'bows' on other gifts.  These are two of the ones I made this two were the same (as is the case of real snowflakes!).  Even better was that all the raw materials came from my stash so they cost me nothing (shhh, don't tell!!).    These were really easy to make and a couple of evenings in front of the tv created all 20 ornaments that I needed.  

Today your quote comes from an anonymous source (but thought to be from the heart of a 7 year old)...."Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen"

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Still searching, and a warning

I'm still searching for something that I can share with you and so I thought I'd post a teeny little bit of my current project...

I can't show you any more than that, but suffice to say it's definitely something that's outside my comfort zone!

And this is something that appeared in one of my groups this morning and I thought it was something that should be shared as much as possible.  

This is a warning from police, applied to both women and men...

Beware of a piece of paper on the back window of your vehicle - it's a new way do a carjacking.  You often don't see it until you get in the car and shift into reverse to back out of your spot.  You notice the piece of paper and stop and get out to remove it, leaving your car running AND your purse on the front seat.  Just enough time for a carjacker to leap in and take off with your car AND your personal information, including your house and car keys.  Police recommend that if you see such a paper, drive away.  Do NOT stop and remove it until you get home!!

Please consider sharing that information!

Today your quote is from Calvin Coolidge... "Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas"

Friday, December 16, 2016


In my search to find something (anything!) that might be post-worthy today, I suddenly remembered that I don't think I shared this particular piece with you.

This is a family tree picture that I created for the 'Crazy Quilt Gatherings' Autumn 2016 issue and was conceived during one of Kathy Shaw's online crazy quilt classes.  I don't normally work from a pattern per se, but tend to just wing it (which can get me into some 'interesting' situations).  Anyway, the class module required that I design a block, including all the stitches I planned to do.  The design languished in my files until Pam Kellogg issued a challenge to come up with something genealogy-related for the magazine.  This is what I created.  

For those who I know will ask...
my paternal grandparents on the lower left,
maternal grandparents on lower right,
moi in the middle and my parents on either side,
my husband and sons on the top.

Today your quote is from Harlan Miller....."Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don't quite know how to put our love into words"

Monday, December 12, 2016

All I have....

Today, fittingly, your quote is about boredom (because I'm sure you are thinking that about some of my posts!)...and comes from Nicholas Hoult...."Long-term boredom can't lead to anything good"

Friday, December 09, 2016

Fill it up, Santa, please!

Our newest grandson HAS to have a Christmas stocking for Santa to fill, don't you think?

One of the little monkeys from yesterday
is already tucked in the toe!

There is no pattern per se for this one - It pretty much came out of my head, although I did find the reindeer on the internet.  

Today your quote is from 'Maxine'...."Christmas is just plain weird.  What other time of year do you sit in front of a dead tree in the living room and eat candy out of your socks"

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Two little monkeys!

Two little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
So Momma called the doctor and the doctor said
No more monkeys jumping on the bed!

Two little monkey finger puppets all ready for two little grandsons.  Pattern is 'Sock Monkey Finger Puppet' from HERE.  

Today your quote is from Suze Orman...."No woman can control her destiny if she doesn't give TO herself as much as she gives OF herself"

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Some knitting - who knew?

Our oldest grandson is currently in like with "dine-O-soars" (his word) so what could a doting grandma do but make him his very own DineOSoar sweater for Christmas?

The pattern is from a Beehive booklet called "Knit Menagerie" and was made using Paton's Canadiana yarn.  As a little side note, Logan's Uncle Shawn had the very same sweater when he was little, but his was red and was made by one of my friends.  Wonder where it ever went.

Today your quote is from an anonymous source...."The greatest gifts are not wrapped in paper but in love"

Friday, December 02, 2016

some you-know-what

Today your quote is from Andrew Weil....."The power to heal is in you, and nonetheless there is a tendency in our culture to project onto other people and to want them to heal us"

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Today I don't have a post from me - the tears are too strong

Christmas Story: For the Man Who Hated Christmas
By Nancy W. Gavin

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it—overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids—all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.

Mike’s smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition—one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children—ignoring their new toys—would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.