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, August 29, 2017

Hats x 3

Over the past week or so I've been spending my evenings with my knitting needles in hand and have churned out these three hats (all of which will be going in the Christmas present box)....

More stash reduction!  Made with Paton's Canadiana yarn - Pattern is the Sandoval Hat and can be found HERE.  The grey hat will end up being accompanied by a pair of fingerless gloves and a masculine cowl.  Details will follow as I get them done!

- For some reason I have always been a fan of Eeyore - going against the more popular Winnie the Pooh and Piglet - and I just discovered THIS cute pattern.  I want one!!

- Another household hint that really does work - if you have copper pans and the copper is looking grungy, mix up a paste of vinegar, salt and enough flour to make a paste.  Rub it on and let it sit for maybe 15 mins.  Keep rubbing and watch the magic happen!

- And further in the household hints department, check out some of the great ideas found HERE.  Be sure to scroll down!

- If you'd like to use up some scrap fabrics and your table looks a little bare, perhaps one of THESE might be just the ticket.  And HERE is a really cute tote bag pattern that might be welcomed by someone on your Christmas list.  And if you have a baby arriving, perhaps making one of THESE might be fun.

Today your quote is from Nelson Mandela...."No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite" 

Finally, but most importantly, our thoughts and prayers remain with the people affected by Hurricane Harvey.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

Another finish

This afternoon I had a bit of time to sew and I finished making a tote bag that will be added to the Christmas gifting cupboard....

This one should be titled 'Comedy of Errors Bag' because I managed to flub up the pattern royally and had to do some creative fixing to make it work.  I had the orange fabric in my stash and also had the 'crown-thingie' lurking in there too.  It's something that I've held onto waiting for the right moment to use it.  The denim was from a lovely big piece of yardage I found at the thrift store.  My idea of a  great gift!

Pattern, if you want to have a go at it (and are better at following directions than I am!!) is the 'Quilted Tote Bag' from HERE.  

- THIS is a fairly nice baby blanket, but what caught my eye is the border.

- THIS is a different method for turning fabric tubes.  I haven't tried it, but if I do I think I would be tempted to try using dental floss which isn't as apt to break.  

- Many of you know that I have a very large collection of buttons so perhaps I should try to make one of THESE.

- I'm sure most of you have probably heard of the 'One Year of Stitches' challenge.  I came across THIS that not only explains the challenge but shows a pretty incredible stitched example.

- If you are dreaming of some pretty new knobs for any reason, have a look at the fun tutorial found HERE  (be sure to scroll down to get the tute).  

Today your quote is a 'funny'....

If you know who did the drawing, please let me know so I can give proper credit!  

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Two finishes

First of all, I finished the final doll in the series and now think I have doll-making out of my system, at least for awhile!

And, as many of you know, I spend most of my evenings with either knitting needles or crochet hooks in hand.  This is the latest thing to add to my stash of things earmarked for Christmas gifts...

The pattern is the 'Coffee Bean Cowl' from HERE.  It's a fun pattern to knit and I used one skein of Red Heart Boutique 'Unforgettable'.  The only modification I did was to increase the length from 19" to 22" - mainly because I wanted to use up the entire ball of yarn.

- THESE would be so useful - cute - AND a great stash buster too.  Definitely a win/win!

- THIS is one of those things that fall under  'why didn't I think of that?".  I think I'd prefer to hang it inside my purse though.

- And just so you know that this blog has a little bit of everything - I came across a household hint that really does work.  If your cooking pots are grungy on the outside, just make a paste of baking soda and vinegar and give them a good rub.  Works like a charm!

- Another great stash-buster idea HERE (and perfect for that-day-that-shall-not-be-named gifts too).

- And HERE's another awwwwww project for you!

Today your quote is from another anonymous source..."Stop hating yourself for everything you aren't.  Start loving yourself for everything that you are"

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

As our mothers said....

....waste not, want not.  And in that vein, you might remember my latest barn project and how I wasn't pleased with the grass area that I had originally created.  So....I lobbed it off!  Then I was left with the  part I got rid of.

So.....I made it into postcards!

- HERE's a rather nice scarf pattern that looks easy to do!  And HERE is a really nice masculine one.  And THIS is a pretty shawl pattern.

- Have a peek at the amazing thread work THIS artist creates!

- If you would like to make fabric books ( or already do) Sharon B has started a facebook group and you can find out more HERE.

Today your quote is from an anonymous source...."Surround yourself with people you love being yourself with"

Monday, August 21, 2017


Over the weekend I finished 'birthing' twin dolls.  These will be going to two sisters.

- There's a great tutorial HERE for how to make wonderfully even circles in fabric.

- THIS is one of those things that you'll either like or not - I'm on the 'like' end!

- And THIS is an interesting way to age/weather tins.  

- HERE's a great (and cheap!) method of faux rusting.  I know we were told never to play with fire, but this looks like fun.

- You might like to have a look at the embroidery pieces found HERE.

Today your quote is from an anonymous source..."If you're searching for that one person that will change your life, take a look in the mirror"

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Boring, boring, B-O-R-Ing!!!!

Yep, the title says it all!  Not a thing happening here at Chez Magpie that's even worth talking about.  There's another (currently nekkid) doll in the works but that's boring to see.  

So, for lack of something creative to show, how about pictures of my sons and grandsons?  

Above is #1 son and his son and below is #2 son and his son.

The first picture was taken on the weekend when we took #1 grandson to the zoo.  Second picture was one I snagged from facebook.  

- I stumbled across THIS blog and spent quite a bit of time going back through a lot of the posts.  Talk about eye candy overload - and all different types of subject matter too!

- Sometimes the vintage patterns are the best and THIS sweater set for a little one is a great example.

- If you like log cabin quilts there are tons of setting ideas HERE.

- If you happen to be looking for an easy knit sweater that looks comfie and stylish, how about THIS one?

- For the crazy quilters among us, perhaps you might like to have fun with a Halloween pattern from HERE.

- If you happen to be a fan of the 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine (and you are....right?) you might be interested in checking out the new facebook group being run by Karen South.  You can find out more by reading Pam's post HERE.  

Today your quote is from Terry Pratchett...."Human beings make life so interesting.  Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom?"

Friday, August 11, 2017

She's finished! And an update

This is #1 of what I plan to be four rag dolls....

As I mentioned previously, she's created from several different patterns as well as some parts that have been pulled out of my head.  I'm still not overly pleased with the design so the next one will change again.  My original pattern had pantaloons, a camisole AND a slip - this one has been pared down to just pantaloons (I did make the camisole & slip and decided they made her too bulky).  This one has both an underskirt and an overskirt - again too much.  The next one will have just one skirt.  The sleeves are too bulky too - and they will be downsized somewhat to make them a little more manageable.  My original doll had yarn hair - which was a complete and total PIA to make, quite truthfully.  I've tried her with curly yarn hair and with straight and none of them suit my requirement of playability (and yes, I know that's not a proper word!!).  This one has felt hair which is glued on and is quite a bit safer for curious little fingers.  The next thing is to re-do her facial features.  Stay tuned - there will be more!!

And....look at what appeared in my sewing room doorway just a few minutes ago!!  

Coconut cream pie!!

Further on the sewing machine front - I took it back to the store for a service call yesterday and am, at least so far, pleased with the outcome.  It has gone from sounding akin to a threshing machine to almost purring.  Who knew?  The girls in the store had quite a laugh over the expression on my face when I first tested it out.  I had gotten used to the various clunks and thumps and growls and was quite astounded that it could sound so quiet!  Now I'm in the process of testing it at home and will be giving it a workout over the next couple of weeks to be sure everything is working as it should.  Phew!!

- THIS is a really interesting pattern for a quilt block.  Not that I'm a sane quilter, but I know some of you are!

- THIS fits under the 'awwwww' category!

- Never let it be said that this blogger fears ANY subject - so - how about making one of THESE for your bathroom?    I actually have one of these that I bought many years ago and it's invaluable!

- Wish I had known about  THIS when I was heavily into working with recycled denim!

Today your quote is from the Dalai Lama..."There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done.  One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live"

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Not quite nekkid!

Having a sewing machine that won't do anything but straight stitch rather limits my creative endeavors so I had to cast about for something to work on.  I've been toying with making a doll (or three...maybe four) and this is as far as I got yesterday...

As I said - not quite naked, but close!
Here you see her sporting her camisole and bloomers.

And below she has her slip...

All created from stash findings (bonus!)

Unfortunately I can't share the pattern source but suffice to say it's a cobbled-together one
that originated probably about 30 years ago.  Some parts were from a McCall's pattern,
some were from a Butterick pattern, and some out of my head.
Each time I make her more of her comes out of my head!

....and before you ask, no, I'm not making any announcements about any new grand babies in the picture!  This one is for my friend who has a wee granddaughter just the right age for a rag doll.  I have two more friends who also have granddaughters that will probably get one too.  Just for the sheer fun of making them!

- THIS falls under the stash busting/gift giving title.  With 'That-Day-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named' approaching faster than any of us would like, perhaps you might like to make one (or several).

- And HERE's another great gift idea too!  And another one HERE.  And how about THIS?  And THIS one might be handy for a guy (or a girl!) who jogs or runs.

- Further on the doll theme - perhaps you'd like to make one of THESE for a little girl and her doll?

- Pam Kellogg has released the latest in her cross stitch pattern series and you can find more about that HERE.  And she's also continuing her free  Never Sending Sampler series and you can see the latest patterns HERE.  

Today your quote is from an anonymous source...  "Things money can't buy....manners, morals, respect, character, common sense, trust, patience, class, integrity, and love"

Monday, August 07, 2017

Something a little different

Over the weekend I played with some of my now almost-defunct denim stash and made a couple of the little hats for our grandsons from the link I gave you  a day or so ago.  Pictures aren't great, but I think they turned out rather cute.

They're reversible - with denim on the outside and some green cotton from my stash on the inside.  Pattern is the 'Reversible Bucket Hat' from HERE.

- Oh wow!  Karen Ruane has just announced her amazing new online venture and it's a doozy!  An entire year of playing and learning with her (along with the rest of the participants).  It's a not-to-be-missed opportunity, so go HERE and HERE to learn more.

- If you like turtles and pincushions, perhaps you might like one of THESE living in your sewing room.

- There's a really pretty idea for a bag HERE.  The pattern for the bag itself isn't there, but there are tons of free patterns out there that could easily be adapted.

- Tutorial HERE for making a really cute sock monkey.

- If you'd like to try making your own patina mixes, have a look at the post HERE.

- Does your jaw need some exercise (as it drops open in amazement?), then have a look at THIS.

Today, instead of a quote, I have a poem to share with you...


The Soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills just got too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

Author Unknown

Thursday, August 03, 2017


Since absolutely NO stitching has been happening here at Chez Magpie, there will be no pictures to share. 

I know -
boring, right?

No knitting.
No crocheting.
No stitching.

I am going c-r-a-z-y!!!!

Does this mean that (horrors)
I have to CLEAN???

To bring you up to date on the ongoing saga about the sewing machine....I spent a large part of yesterday emailing back and forth (and on the phone too) with a lovely lady from Bernina head office.  More experiments with the machine, accompanied by much photo taking and sharing, has led to the consensus being that there is something off kilter with the lower tension.  (Could have told them that from the get-go, but anyhoo....).

Turns out that the store where I bought it should have given it a full service before they sold it, which didn't happen for whatever reason.  I bought, at a very reduced price, the demo model they had in the store - accompanied, thankfully, by a full warranty.  As of this moment I will be toting it back to the store next Thursday (what am I going to DO in the meantime???????!!!!) bright and early in the morning so that the repair guy can do the proper service and make the adjustments to the tension, which will (fingers crossed) rectify things.  I will bring it home and give it a VERY thorough run and, if things aren't right I will be heading back to the store to demand a refund or a replacement machine.  They have also promised to have an 'education' representative on hand to go over all the fine details on the machine with me to be sure I fully understand it (not necessary, but a nice additional touch).  Not only that, but the Bernina person also said she would be more than happy to meet me at the store and run interference with them should the need arise.  Not necessary, but lovely of her to offer. 

Out of all of this I have to say that I have nothing against Bernina per se - I think this machine, if working properly, would be more than adequate for anything I need.  I was happy to be assured by the rep that they, as policy, keep replacement parts for all discontinued machines available for at least 20 years.  That was good to know.  The company rep made me feel validated and completely understood the issues and assured me that none of this was my fault - I was fully prepared to have to go into battle and that was definitely not the case.  

So far, so good.  Stay tuned for further chapters in the ongoing saga!!

So, now how about some mumblings?

- If you have little ones in your life, perhaps you'd like to make them some of THESE hats.  I'm looking in my stash to see what might be usable so I can make one for each of our grandsons.

- I've been searching for some knitting patterns to perhaps create between now and that not-to-be-yet-mentioned day in December.  Found THIS one for our oldest 'grand'  and THIS one for our youngest.  And THIS one would be fun for the women in the family perhaps.

- If there's a little girl in your life, THIS would be so cute!

- There doesn't seem to be a specific tutorial on how to make THIS, but it's easily done I think.  Now to remember to save the cardboard rolls!

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

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Just mumbling today

I was away most of the day yesterday and much of today too, so not much done on the stitching front beyond trying a few more ideas to try to wrestle my sewing machine into submission.  More dismal failures and I know you have NO interest in seeing those!!  

On the bright side, I did receive a call from a person in the 'education' department at Bernina.  Of course I wasn't home when she called, but at least we're trying to connect.  Remains to be seen if she has any good ideas to fix my issues.  If not, I may have to scuttle my whole plan of trying to create barns and give up on any type of free motion work (or working with mono thread).  Not what I want to do, but buying yet another sewing machine is definitely not in my budget.  

- The fall issue of 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' is now available!!  It's another great issue (and I'm not just saying that because my 'Courtship' project is in there! ).  You can get your copy either HERE at MagCloud or HERE at Etsy.

- Mary Corbet has announced the release of her brand new e-book called 'Will Ewe Bee Mine?' -filled with wonderful monograms and patterns.  Go HERE to find out more.

- Another of my on-line friends (Susan Leschke) has some absolutely adorable stitching patterns available.  Go HERE to see!

- And another of my friends (Suzy Quaife) has a great online class available for making her absolutely gorgeous fabric and lace books.  Right now the class is on sale so hurry over HERE to find out more about 'Peaceful and Pondering Fabric Lace Books'.  And if you want to see more of her work, she blogs HERE.

- If you enjoy working with beads and like owls, perhaps you'd like to try your hand at creating one (or more!) of THESE.

Today the quote is from an anonymous source..."One day or day one. You decide"