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, February 28, 2017

Seems like I'm still seaming

The seams on block four are pretty much complete and I'm starting on the 'filler' areas...

For this seam I used one of Sharon Boggon's plastic templates to draw the half circles onto my fabric (you could also use a button).  Then I used buttonhole to work the circles (black); straight stitches (pink); lazy daisies & straight stitches (green); and French knots (blue).

This is a simple cross stitched heart I used as one of the fillers.  Sorry that I can't share the pattern because it isn't my original design.

Today's dose of mumblings...

- HERE's a great idea for a scissors holder - great for gifting!

- THIS is such a brilliant idea!!  So handy to laminate and carry with you so you have an easy stitch reference.  (If you scroll down you will also see the link to further pages in her series).  Love it!!

- If you're searching for embroidery stitches that are reminiscent of braiding, have a look at Mary Corbet's post HERE.  

Today your quote is from an anonymous source..."You've got to take the good with the bad, smile with the sad, love what you've got, and remember what you had.  Always forgive, but never forget.  Learn from mistakes,  but never regret"

Monday, February 27, 2017

More seams

Over the weekend I got a bit more done on the latest block of the courtship series...

This one is straight stitches and beads (or French knots).

Straight stitches - with lazy daisies for the small leaves.

- THIS is a very beautiful shawl pattern.  English pattern can be found on her blog.

- Found THIS tutorial for how to make a substitute for ironing spray - sounds like it would make great gifts for your quilting friends!

- There's no way I would ever try to make one of THESE, but aren't they cool?  And have a look at some more examples HERE.

Today the quote is from Ernest Hemingway....

Before you act, listen.
Before you react, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.

Friday, February 24, 2017

I know - what's this world coming to.

A recipe, two days in a row here at Chez Magpie!  In my defense, there's been precious little in the way of embroidery happening here, but there HAS been some pretty impressive stuff emerging from the kitchen.


The resident chef waved this under my nose when I arrived home a few minutes ago and I have to admit it looks (and smells!) pretty darned impressive!  For those of you who might like the recipe, here t'is....

2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
4 c. all purpose flour, divided
1/4 c. honey
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. hot water
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 egg, beaten

1/4 c. butter (NOTE: original recipe called for 1/2 c. but resident cook says it's too much).  
1 c. finely chopped onion
1 T. sesame or poppy seeds
1 T. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. paprika

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add two cups of the flour - and all the remaining dough ingredients - and blend at low speed (or by hand) for 2 minutes, until everything is well mixed.  Stir in enough extra flour - roughly the remaining 2 c. - to form a soft dough.  Cover the bowl, set in a warm spot, and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size (45 mins. to an hour).
2. After the first rise is complete, punch down the dough & turn it out on a floured board.  Knead until no longer sticky, and roll out to a 12x18" rectangle.
3. To make the filling, melt the butter and add the other filling ingredients.  Spread over the dough, cut the rectangle lengthwise into three 4x18" strips and - starting along the 18 inch side - roll up each strip.  Pinch the ends closed, place the 18" long ropes, buttery seams down, on a well-greased baking sheet and braid them together.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough is light and doubled in size, 45 mins. to an hour.
4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5.  Beat an egg with a little water and brush over the braided dough.  Bake 30-35 mins or until golden brown.  Let cool in the pan for 10 mins, then turn out onto wire rack to cool.
The recipe comes from 'Mother Earth News Bread' cookbook, edited by Karen K. Will, published by Voyageur Press  ISBN 978-0-7603-4844-4, c2015


- I wasn't aware that you could use a crochet cast-on for knitting and it looks like a great idea.  Go HERE for how to accomplish it (might take a second to load).

- Now that we're starting to have thoughts of spring (at least in this part of the hemisphere), perhaps you might like to check out THIS planter (and if you scroll down there are lots of other great ideas.

- If you have a Lego fan in your life (ahem - not going to mention that it might even be YOU!), then maybe you might find THESE to be fun.

- THIS organizer caught my eye.  Bet you can't tell from the picture what it's made of!

Today the quote is from M.F.K. Fisher..."The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight"

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

For something a little different....

Sorry to say there is no stitching to share today, so...How about a recipe?  This week the resident chef here at Chez Magpie made this wonderful soup.  This is a recipe I created many moons ago when I was doing all the cooking.

1 pkg dry beans (any kind will do)
Leftover ham pieces
3 large onions, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 T. chicken bouillon
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 T. Worcestershire
2 T. parsley (dry or fresh)
28 oz. can tomatoes
Large can tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Water to fill pot

The night before you plan to make the soup, cover the dry beans with water and let stand overnight. Rinse,  drain and return beans to pot.  Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer for three hours (or even better if it's simmered for five hours).  This makes a lot, so be prepared!  We portion it into freezer containers and freeze for when we need a quick meal.

Today's mumblings...

- Judy has posted a great list of free block-of-the-month projects.  There are a couple of really beautiful designs and they are *almost* enough to make me want to be a sane quilter.  Notice I said *almost*!!  Go HERE to see her post.

- THIS is a beautiful scarf pattern!  And HERE's another, and another one HERE.

- If you have need of attaching a zipper to a knitted or crocheted garment, perhaps you might find this tutorial handy.

Today the quote is from Marge Kennedy...."Soup is a lot like a family.  Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavour"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

More progress on block 4

My photography skills on this one obviously are sadly lacking, but here you go anyway...

This one is all straight stitches with either a French knot or a bead in the center

Another one that is entirely made up of straight stitches.  You could replace the red stitches with lazy daisies.


- Just a reminder that we're searching for entries for the crazy quilt calendar contest for 2018.  The theme is 'Musicals' and you can read more about it below... 

I'm the lucky person that gets to see the entries first and I'm looking forward to seeing what you create arriving in my inbox.  You don't have to send your creation in person - just good photos. 

- THESE fit under the awwwww category!

- THESE are a great way to use up your sock yarn stash AND learn some new stitches at the same time.  Ending up with something useful at the end is just an added bonus.

- How about some really cute mouse mittens for a toddler?  And if you have mice, perhaps a CAT might be necessary?

Today the quote is from Elizabeth Zimmermann..."Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either"  (and I think the same thing could be said about crazy quilting!)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Block 4 beginning

Over the weekend I started working on block four of my courtship project and now here are some seam treatments for you...

Herringbone (black); straight stitch (green); lazy daisy (pink) and either French knots or beads.

Straight stitch (black, blue and pink);  lazy daisy (green) and French knots (or beads).

- Go HERE to see some pretty amazing knitted moths.  Not something I would have ever thought to do!

- There's a nice fabric basket tutorial HERE.  Handy for a number of uses.

- I found THIS very interesting way to cast on for toe up socks.  I plan to give this a try!!

Instead of your quote today, I thought I'd share this beautiful poem written by Joseph J. Mazzella...


The television news was droning on and on this evening.
It was full of every bad thing that happened in the world today.
Finally I had to turn the set off.
It wasn't that I couldn't handle the bad news.
It was just that I knew all that was being left out.
I knew what else happened today.

Today a mother held her newborn baby in her arms for the first time and felt her heart open with a love she never knew she had.
Today mothers and fathers both played with their children, hugged them tight, and kissed them goodnight when they tucked them into bed.
Today animals were petted, fed, and cared for by loving owners.
Today a child learned how to be kind when he saw his Mom hold a door open for an elderly lady.
Today wise words were spoken and minds were opened in a million school classrooms across the world.
Today clothes, food and money were collected to be shared with the poor and hungry.  
Today the sick were cared for, the disabled were helped, and the crying were comforted by so many caring souls.
Today smiles were shared and kind acts performed with no thought of reward.
Today songs were sung, sweet words were said, and laughter was heard.
Today adult children gathered around their Mom's deathbed to hold her hand, tell her they love her, and kiss her for one last time.
Today someone finally realized just how much God loves them.
Today a million prayers went up to Heaven on the wings of faith and a million 'Thank You's' were said to God with hearts full of love.
Today this world was made better by the good we did, the kindness we shared, and the love we gave to others. 
Today all the angels of Heaven joyfully smiled as they watched us strive to love each other, to help each other, and to live as God's children here on earth. 
That is what happened today.
That is what happens every day of our lives here.
Don't let the bad news bring you down.
Its hate and darkness can never stand against our love and light.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Block three - complete

I finished the last section of block three....

and here is the completed block...

Now, on to block 4!!

- There's a beautiful free pattern HERE by Trish Burr  (found via Judy...thank you).

- If you enjoy working with hexxies, there's an interesting tutorial HERE showing how to use plastic templates (which she happens to sell, but I have no affiliation) and ensuring that your joining stitches are invisible.

- THIS isn't a free pattern, but I'm sharing it anyway, simply because it's so cute.

- You can find a good quilt binding tutorial HERE.

Today the quote is from Jackson Brown..."Today give a stranger on of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day"

Thursday, February 16, 2017

More fillers

I apologize in advance for these pictures - one is blurry and in another I realized that I hadn't picked out all the little bits of tissue paper I used for the pattern.  Oops.  Oh well, you get the general idea anyway!

- I know potholders aren't necessarily 'in' these days, but the pattern for THIS one is so pretty and would brighten up any kitchen, whether it be used as intended or not.

- If you crochet and have been mystified by some of the charted patterns using symbols out there, perhaps THIS might be helpful to keep on hand.

- Oh wow!  THIS is absolutely gorgeous!!!  And there's a link to the free pattern there too.  I'm not a fan of pink, but this is stunning.

- THESE would make such pretty flowers on a crazy quilt if they were made using a finer thread (pearl cotton or crochet cotton) and done individually...perhaps with a bead in the centre.

Your quote of the day..."You can't reach what's in front of you until you let go of what's behind you"

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Filling in

Today I have filled in three sections on block three...

It seems I'm living proof that things happen in three's (and I'm not talking about the embroidery examples above!!).  First, I managed to break a piece off a tooth....then I noticed the band on my watch was hanging by a mere thread....and then I cracked the glass cover on our old mantel clock while I was changing the battery.  I think that should be it for awhile!!

Some mumblings...

- if you have someone in your family who likes Batman, there are some free patterns HERE that could be adapted quite easily to cross stitch or beading.

- HERE is a cute little bookmark project - easy and quick to make!

- If you are like me and have wondered how to get a thread knot to snug up to something like a bead, have a look at THIS.  It's easy if you know how!!

- I know THIS is a jewelry piece, but wouldn't it be perfect stitched onto a crazy quilt?  Or how about some of THESE?  By simply doing an online search for beading patterns for jewelry you can find hundreds of possibilities for additions to your crazy quilting!

Today the quote is from Hans Hansen...."It takes nothing to join the crowd.  It takes everything to stand alone"

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today I don't have any stitching to share - yesterday was a bit of a lost day and nothing much happened with my needle and threads.  I do, however, have a few mumblings...

- If you happen to be expecting a baby girl, there's a beautiful vintage hat pattern HERE.

- HERE's a tutorial for making a cover for your iron.

- If you are a watercolour painter, perhaps you might find THIS little portable kit handy.

- THIS just falls under the category of 'awwwwww'!

Monday, February 13, 2017


I have begun working on the 'filler' parts of block three of the courtship project and this is what I have so far...

This little rose design was cobbled together using four different patterns I had in my collection.  I think it qualifies enough as being mine that I am able to share it with you.

- THIS butterfly bookmark pattern has many uses.  I like the little flutterbys all on their own!

- There's a cute little crocheted heart pattern HERE.

The quote of the day, from an anonymous source..."You don't have to wait until Valentine's Day to show someone how much they mean to you"

Friday, February 10, 2017

Last seams for block three

This one is made up of cross stitches, straight stitches & a French knot or beads.

All straight stitches, with either French knots or beads.

Mumblings for today...

- If you're wanting to organize your craft space, have a look at the ideas found HERE.  I can but dream.

- If our bathroom was a bit larger how I would love one of THESE!!   (takes a second to load and scroll down)

- THIS is a cute little pouch - great for using up scraps!

- If you go HERE there's a tutorial to make a round cosmetic case - but I think it would be great for holding sewing supplies too!  (Thanks Judy for this one!)

Another quote from an anonymous source...."You know you are getting old when everything either dries up - or leaks"

Thursday, February 09, 2017

oh oh - and continuing on

The resident chef decided that making bread was a good thing to do yesterday and this was the result...

Recipe is from

Not a calorie to it!!

Now on to the non-fattening portion of this post...

This one began with the chevron stitch (black); straight stitches (pink & green); cross stitches (blue) and finished off with beads or French knots.

This one is made up of cross stitches, straight stitches and lazy daisies.

And here's your mumblings...

- HERE is a great purse organizer - made from a placemat!

- THIS is a dual purpose item - a hot water bottle cover AND a sweet little cross stitch pattern too.

- How about one of THESE to help organize your sewing room or scrapbooking space?  

Today your quote is from Christina Rossetti..."Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished?  Yes - work never begun"

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Stitching on

More seam treatments on block 3

This one is pretty much done with straight stitches, with some lazy daisies & either French knots or beads.

The base line on this one was done using straight stitches and the curved bits were whipped back stitch.  Straight stitches, lazy daisies and beads completed the treatment.  If you don't have a template to make the curves, try using a button to draw around.

The mumblings of the day...

- I've been using commercial stitch markers for my knitting - rather boring really.  I'd love to have some of THESE instead!  Would make knitting more fun don't you think?

- Pat Winter has just released what-looks-to-be a wonderful book filled with crazy quilt eye candy and you can see more about it HERE.  

- I don't know if any of you might be interested in making your own spice mixes, but HERE's a site with several different versions and if you'd like to try some different salad dressings go HERE  (See?  You never know what you're going to find when you read my mumblings!!)

Today your quote is from anonymous...."The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about"

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Block 3 - beginnings

Over the weekend I started working on block #3 of my courtship project, so here are two more seam treatments to share with you...


This one is entirely created using straight stitches, with the addition of either beads or French Knots

More straight stitches and cross stitches

- There's a really pretty crocheted Tree of Life afghan pattern HERE.

- If you happen to have some old wooden thread spools in your stash, perhaps you'd like to make one of THESE

- There's a nice crocheted heart that could be used in numerous ways HERE.  

- My friend Judy has posted some links HERE  to the beautiful quilts from The Road To California 2017 quilt show.  Be sure to have a cuppa at hand because there are LOTS of absolutely stunning quilts to see!

Today your quote is from Mark Twain..."Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option"

Monday, February 06, 2017

Block 2 complete

Here is the second block of the courtship series completed...

I think you can click to embiggen the picture

The mumblings of the day...

- I stumbled upon a gorgeous paper-pieced rose pattern HERE.  Not for beginners to tackle perhaps, but it does look incredible.
- And HERE is another paper piecing pattern that would make up into a piece of art.

- THIS one absolutely boggles the mind with the intricate pieces!

- Here is some really helpful information for knitters who are math-challenged (me!!) and have trouble figuring out the mystery pattern instruction that states 'decrease x-# of stitches evenly across row'.  And HERE's another one for how to increase.  The same site has other valuable sources of information for knitters HERE.

- Further on the knitting increase and  decrease subject, there's another handy calculator HERE.    This one is more of a no-brainer and the one I know I will use.

- Many of you know how much I liked creating with recycled denim, so you'll understand why I think THIS is cool!

Today the quote is from an anonymous source...."If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone, you have already forgotten your value"

Friday, February 03, 2017

Narrowing in

I'm getting to the end of Block # 2 in the courtship series and hopefully will finish it today.  Here's the latest bits I've added...

 Above is a fairly easy seam treatment...
just a chain stitch vine, silk ribbon leaves,
and some sparkly plastic flowers.

Below, double fly stitch leaves,
some rice pearl beads, and
some other beads I found in my stash. 

Diagram for the double fly stitch leaves

Latest in my findings round and about the internet...

- There are some really nice paper pieced heart ideas HERE (scroll down), along with a number of other free patterns.

- Gerry has written a great tutorial HERE about how to transfer patterns to fabrics.  This is particularly great when using dark fabric or anything with a short nap.

- There's a really cute little knitted bunny HERE.

- For those of you who crochet and happen to be looking for a little gift item, how about one of THESE?  I made some years ago and they were really pretty.  And HERE's another nice one.  And if you're looking for a little Valentine's gift, how about THIS one?

Your quote today comes from an anonymous source..."The first to apologize is the bravest.  The first to forgive is the strongest.  The first to forget is the happiest"