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, October 31, 2017


....I don't have much to show you today, but I do have a few extra mumblings that I wanted to share.

The only picture I have shows the project I finished up late last week.  One of my friends spearheads a knitting group at her church and they often produce knitted squares that need to be put together into either a lap robe or an afghan.  Unfortunately none of her  friends knows how to crochet, so I get enlisted to crochet them together.  This is supposed to be the last one they'll be doing and perhaps it's a good thing.    It's such fun to try to make a square that measures 8 x 11" (which some of them did) end up small enough to 'marry' with the rest.  It's done, but it's certainly not a thing of beauty!

Now - on to the mumblings (better pour yourself a cuppa before you start!).....

A word of warning - if you receive an email claiming to be from 'Account Security' at Microsoft Outlook stating that they are discontinuing support - it's a hoax.  Do NOT open it and by all means don't do what they ask!!  I got the email and was suspicious enough to check into it before I clicked and I'm so happy I did.  It pays to have a suspicious nature when it comes to the internet!!

- Came across THIS whilst down the rabbit hole (more commonly known as Pinterest) and immediately thought how cool this would be for a little one.  Perhaps find the t-shirts at the thrift shop.  Hmmm.....must look into this!

- For those of you who remember the old Mary Maxim sweater patterns that had things like beavers and moose on them, perhaps you might find THIS pattern interesting.  (btw - Mary Maxim still has them available!).  For those of us in Canada, perhaps you'd like THIS pattern (altho' it's not free).

- How cute is THIS for a baby girl?  Or THIS?

- THIS is a really nice crocheted trim that would be perfect on so many applications.

- For those who like the current trend for 'Elf on A Shelf' there's a free pattern to knit one HERE.  And there's another cute version HERE.

- I think THESE are really cute (I wouldn't use lavender because it makes me sneeze, but I thought they'd also make cute gift card holders).

- HERE's another fun idea to make for little ones for Christmas giving!

- You might want to check out THIS post about the Shenandoah Valley tapestry on Mary Corbet's blog.  It's amazing!

- Michelle Palmer has a tutorial HERE for the cutest little snowman!

Your quote today is an anonymous one and is in honour of Halloween...."This witch can be bribed with chocolate"

and that can be said of a lot of us!

Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Rugs - of the muggish sort

Yesterday was our crafting group meeting and Sue was the birthday girl this month.  She likes pink so I created this mug rug for her...

And further in the muggish rug-ishness theme....I made two of these crocheted coasters that are heading to the Christmas box..

- Some interesting tips HERE for using freezer paper in your sewing room.

- I've never seen a crochet cast-on for knitting before - you can see the how to HERE

- If you plan to gift a bottle of wine this Christmas, perhaps one of THESE might be a nice addition (and a great scrap buster too!).

- There are some nice shawl patterns HERE , HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.  

- THIS one would be an amazing gift for someone in a nursing home or anyone who feels the cold.  As would THIS one.  And I love the collar detail on THIS one!  It would be a quick knit too.

Today the quote is from another anonymous source..."Sometimes having coffee with your best friend is all the therapy you need"

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


I really do feel sorry for my readership you know.  I lead you on with all this hype about some sort of 'Grande Project' that is quite mysterious and you're expecting something grandiose.  You do know that you're bound to be disappointed when you find out just how ordinary it really is!!

My sewing room has had a pair of second-hand drapes gracing the window ever since we moved here eight years ago.  The sun has done a good number on them (even I was astounded at how much damage had been done!!).  So.....being that my first love is crazy quilting, of course I HAD to create something that is crazy quilted!  


A valance!!

Crazy quilted - entirely using the sewing machine.  No hand embroidery at all!  I wanted to see what the (albeit limited) 'fancy' stitches on my machine would look like in a crazy quilt and this was the result.
Verdict?  I would do this again, especially for smaller applications where the fact that the stitches don't embiggen to a larger width wouldn't be an issue.  It would also be ideal for things that see a lot of wear and tear.  

There now....aren't you disappointed 
after all that hype?

- There's a really nice cowl pattern HERE.

- If you crochet, perhaps you might like to make some of THESE to use either on the Christmas tree or as package ornaments.  And THESE are just plain cute (you'll have to use the 'translate' function for the pattern in English).

- THESE would make really nice table markers at Christmas time.

- THIS is a really different tree skirt!

- If you live in Canada perhaps you'd like to check out THIS board on Pinterest - it's a collection of online fabric shops in Canada.

- I haven't tried THIS yet, but it seems like it should work.  I have a number of large spools of thread and haven't been able to figure out how to get them to work with my machine.  Will definitely give this a try!  She also has a list of BOM's that are going on this year and some of you might find those interesting to browse through (find it HERE).  

Off topic, but most of you have figured out how my mind works by now and won't be the least bit surprised!  Anyhoo.....I've been binge reading a couple of book series and thought I'd share the details with you in case you're looking for something new to read.  The first series is the 'Mitford' series written by Jan Karon.  It follows the life in a small town centering around the local priest (Father Tim).  I have read them all and have thoroughly enjoyed every one.  Your local library likely has them, or can easily get them.  The other series is by Patrick Taylor and, once again, is centered around a small town in Ireland and follows the life of the local doctor.  The series is 'An Irish Country Doctor'.  I would highly recommend both authors if you like a nice light, but very entertaining, read.  You get caught up in the characters and really want to find out what happens next.  

Your quote today comes from one of Jan Karon's books ('A Continual Feast...Words of Comfort and Celebration, collected by Father Tim')....."In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy'

Monday, October 23, 2017

A teaser

Last time I showed you a picture of a pile of fabrics and most of you guessed it would be something to do with crazy quilting.  Well, you were right!  However, I'm not showing you the finished project quite yet, but instead how about a couple teasers?...

You'll have to come back tomorrow to find out what it turned out to be!!

- THIS pretty much has cuteness all wrapped up.  But then again so does THIS.

- Our 3 year old grandson is pretty much obsessed with Spiderman so Grandma just might have to create one of THESE.  His grandma, on the other hand, has a 'thing' for either Eeyore or The Grinch, so of course THIS caught my eye!

- If I were getting married again, and if I were the sort to wear a wedding dress, THIS one would be right up my alley!  Mind you, losing 50 lbs would probably be necessary too!  I'm afraid I can't give proper credit, so if you know who made it please let me know.

- THESE would be amazing gifts for a little person in your life.

- There's an interesting formula HERE that explains why quilts cost as much as they do.

- I found this interesting chart that might be helpful to quilters.....

Today the quote is from Jim Davis..."Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie"

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Now....what do you suppose.....

.....I'm up to now???

Well, you'll just have to wait and see!

Yesterday I posted pictures of the latest barn project and I can tell you now that I'm not happy with it.  And I do have a reason for that.  The barn itself, although it's the right shape and overall look for what I wanted,  the colour of it isn't.  I want fabric that's the colour of old weathered barnboard - the grey old look.  This one simply didn't do it for me.  The search is on for appropriately coloured (& preferably with a textured look that works) fabric and it's proving to be much harder than I thought it would be.  I don't mind adding some paint to make it look 'right' but I need to have a good base.  And I know someone is going to suggest I simply paint it from scratch and that's not something I can do - my creative genes don't lend themselves to that amount of 'art'.  And I know I 'could' dye some, but that's decidedly frowned upon....using communal washing machines in an apartment building for that sort of endeavor is a no-no....b'sides dye would just give one overall colour and not the look of texture that I'm wanting.  I know - I want too much, don't I!! 

- HERE's a great Christmas table runner pattern.  Or if you happen to like a more folk art style, how about THIS one.  And THIS one has a really different shape. 

- You might have to use the 'translate' feature for THIS, but isn't she cute?  

- You might find the information HERE about fully utilizing your quilter's rulers interesting.  All those marks on those rulers DO serve a purpose and the mystery is revealed!

- I don't know if THIS little tip for sewing vinyl or plastic actually works, but it might be worth trying.

Today, instead of a quote, how about a little laugh...

Monday, October 16, 2017


The latest barn project is complete!!  Well, complete except for the label for the back, which I will work on next.  

This piece measures approx. 14 x 25".

The inspiration photo I used


- If you have a little girl in your life, perhaps one of these beautiful nighties might be just the thing to make for her.

- Have a look at the amazing (small!!) embroideries in THIS article!

- Noticed THESE on Ravelry - not something I would ever think of tackling, but aren't they cute?

- Pam Kellogg has announced her new mystery cross-stitch Christmas stitch-a-long and you can find more information HERE.  

Today your quote is from an anonymous source once again..."Life is like a camera....focus on what's important; capture the good times; develop from the negatives; and if things don't work out, take another shot"

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Beans and Barns

I haven't shared a recipe with you in a long time so I thought I'd share what we had for supper last night.  The cooler fall days are here and this was mighty tasty (and easy to make according to the resident cook).


2 cans EACH of romano & black beans*
1 c. diced onion
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. maple-flavoured BBQ sauce**
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
1 lb. kielbasa sausage - chopped up

Spray bowl of slow cooker with vegetable spray.  Combine all except sausage which goes on top.  Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours.
* - you can use any combination of beans 
you like best
** - we like maple, but perhaps you'd 
prefer another flavour

There has been a bit more progress on the barn....

- You'd have to have a little bit of space for THIS but I think it's a great idea!

- THESE would make really nice gifts and so simple to create.

- If your house has a lot of doors off your hallway, perhaps creating some of these would be a fun addition to your decor.

- I can't find a source to give credit for THIS decor idea, but sharing it anyway.  If you know who did it, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

And here's another quote from Eeyore...."A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference"

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I'd like to say....grass is a'growin'....but...

....if I do, I can imagine how many 'hits' I'll be getting on my blog and most of them won't be of the desirable sort!!  

I have spent the entire afternoon putzing with the grass area for my barn.  I have auditioned a ton of possibilities, all of which have been...ahem....mowed.  I finally came up with this...

....and out of complete and total disgust with the whole thing, I have decided it's staying.  So there!!  Of course there's still embroidery to be added to hopefully blend it in more.  No matter what happens I am NOT changing it again!!!
(oh yeah - there WILL be leaves on the tree!)

- There's a cute little jack-o-lantern pattern HERE.  

- Most of you know how much I used to enjoy working with denim and all its offshoots, so you will understand why I find THESE fun!

- Kathy Shaw has written a great tutorial HERE about finishing crazy quilted hexagons.

- Yesterday I linked to some ideas for recycling old suitcases and I've come across another one I really like HERE.  Unfortunately I can't give proper credit for this one.  If anyone knows, please let me know!

Today your quote is from one of my very favourite characters...Eeyore...."A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

About microwaves, barns and potions

Now how's THAT for a perplexing blog post title?!!  

Today I went back to working on my latest barn project and have, yet again, re-done the grass area.  For some reason it simply will-not-work despite my best efforts.  I had replaced the 'grass' twice over already and was on the third re-do, which I didn't remember to take a picture of (sorry).  

Here's the first effort...

Too much grass.  It took over.  I hated it.

Here's effort # 2...

After I embroidered on it for awhile it decided it was too bright.  Too garish.  Too spring green-ish.

Effort #3 (or was it #4??)

Please note that picture would show at
least two days worth of embroidery!!

Enter the use of the microwave....and paint....and green food colouring (which, btw, has dyed my fingers green....all ready for Halloween!).....and tea.  Add a dab of this, and a dollop of that....oops....throw it out because it turned a yucky shade of dog-poop-brown. Start over.   Insert piece of eyelet lace and brew it for awhile.  Squeeze out (more green tinge to my hands), rinse and iron dry.  

All that, to end up with....

Effort #4 (or maybe 5, depending on your viewpoint)

One wonders.
Will there be an Effort #5???

- If you happen to have (or stumble across) an old suitcase, HERE's how you can re-do the inside.  And if you go HERE you can see tons of ideas of what you can do with it once you've done the inside!  Oh, and how about making one of THESE out of an old suitcase? (be sure to scroll down to see the finished project).  Or maybe one of THESE would be fun.

- There's a free tutorial HERE to make a triple-zippered pouch that has so many uses.

- If you'd like to make yourself (or one for a gift!)  a fun Chatelaine, have a look at the tutorial HERE   and if you want to see an absolutely beautiful example of a chatelaine have a look HERE.   And HERE is another great way to make one.

- If there's a baby on the way, perhaps you'd like to make one of THESE cute little diaper holders!

- HERE's a really nice little Christmas project perfect for stash busting!  And THIS is another great stash buster that would make a lovely gift.

Today your quote is from Albert Einstein..."Insanity:  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"

Monday, October 09, 2017

This is what procrastination does

Not that I could ever, by any stretch of the imagination, be accused of suffering from procrastination....ahem.  At least I finished a project over the weekend.  

I have been muttering for a long time about the holder I was using for my circular knitting needles and decided that it was time to create a new one that wouldn't require me to stuff so many into a small space.  This is what I came up with.  It's three times as wide as my former one, which was made from Butterick Pattern # B5006 (you can see the picture of the original pattern HERE on the lower right side).  I decided I would use the basic pattern but multiply it by three times as wide.  It took some finagling but I'm happy with what I came up with.

Here's the inside....

There are several 'pages', each rubber stamped with the needle size.  I ran into some difficulty with the stamping process and ended up with some 'ghosting' of the ink in places.  What to do?  Well, a dig into my stash unearthed a small flower stencil that, with some judicious placement, I used to cover most of it.  The rest I simply added some faux stitching lines to and called it a day.  

As for the procrastination...
I guess this means I need to now
get back to working on a barn!

- We watched one of those home reno shows on HGTV yesterday and they were using wooden pallets to cover a wall (not particularly attractive to my mind) which led me to wonder what else could be created with them.  Have a look HERE for some great ideas!

- There's a great article HERE for making straps for different types of bags.  

- HERE's a great idea for your fall decor...making pumpkins from sweater sleeves.

- There are lots of links HERE to free bag/purse/wallet patterns (three pages of them!).

This black 'blob' is a photo of our very full moon taken over the weekend.

Another quote from an anonymous source..."Two of the hardest tests in life:  The patience to wait for the right moment, and the courage to accept that you've waited for nothing"

Friday, October 06, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

This weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving (which is held at a different time to that of the United States).  There will be lots of turkey and trimmings consumed here!  We won't be seeing family so will be enjoying supper out with friends instead.  

With all that has been happening throughout the world, we have to give thanks for what we have...for our family, our friends, and for where we live.  So many others are going through such horrendous loss and hardship and we need to keep them in our prayers.  Be safe!

There has been some stitching accomplished - but pretty much equally as much reverse stitching too.  That's what I get for trying to change a pattern to suit my needs.  Hopefully there will be pictures on Monday.

- Kathy Shaw has announced a new stitch-a-long and rather than me telling you about it, here is the intro in her own words .... I'm going to begin stitching EVERY SEAM of my Crazy Quilting Volume III:  Fancy Seam Designs Book soon. I thought you might want to join in and stitch them yourself! I know a lot of my blog followers have purchased the book (thank you again!), so this may be the gentle nudge you have needed to get you going. :)    You can read more about it HERE.  

- I came across THIS today and was rather astounded at what they are asking for it.  Would that I could get that much for some of MY creations!!

- THIS is so cute! A good gift - a good use for scraps - would work as a gift card holder too I think.

- HERE's another great gift idea.

Your quote, once again, is from an anonymous source..."Be kind.  Be thoughtful.  Be genuine.  But most of all Be Thankful"

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Not much

Nope, not much happening here at Chez Magpie that could be classed as being anything more than yawn-worthy.  Things are being created but not a single one of them is in any state worth showing as these photos will attest...

This is the top of my cutting table...there's fabric there, waiting to be cut and some 'stuff on the back that needs to be stored somewhere....

This is the corner of the couch - three different projects-worth of yarns, waiting to be turned into something.

There's a lot of waiting happening here.  And I know you're also waiting - waiting for something even remotely interesting to occur here.  You might have a long wait!

-  Karen Ruane has announced a new 6-week class called 'Handkerchief Extras' that sounds like great fun....have a look HERE to find out more.

- I don't decorate for halloween, but if I did I would surely be tempted to scare the daylights out of trick or treaters with one of THESE.   Or maybe THIS one!

- the new issue of 'QUILTSocial' is out and you can read that HERE.

-  There's also another free online magazine for quilters and you can register for it HERE (there's also a Premium version that requires payment if you want to go that route).  The free version is quite interesting so you might like to check it out first.  (I have no affiliation with either of these, but thought I'd share in case you're interested).

Today the quote is another anonymous one..."Two of the hardest tests in life...The patience to wait for the right moment and the courage to accept that you've waited for nothing"