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 29, 2017

A little bit of progress, and some cuteness

Before I show you the progress I've been making on the latest barn project, thought I'd share the cute gift we got from Theo....

It's hard to get a decent picture of a coffee mug, but at least you can see his sweet face!

Yesterday I got back to working on my latest barn and hopefully you can see some progress from what it looked like at the beginning... now....

I'll explain a little bit of what I did so you can see that, yes, Virginia, there not only is a Santa Claus....but I DID do something to it!!

The areas circled in pink show where I have simply added a little bit of netting to soften the colours of the underlying fabrics.  The area circled in red was created using Texture Magic, which 'bubbles' the fabric up into the most amazing textures (looks a bit more tree-like than the flat fabric did).  For the areas circled in blue I created some fabric lace using my sewing machine....placed cheesecloth really tightly in a hoop; dropped the feed dogs; and stitched, trying to use mainly circles to create a lacy effect with the cheesecloth.  Then I added little snippets of the green fabrics I used elsewhere in the grass and stitched them on.  Cut and appliqued to the areas on the grass where I wanted them.  The barn itself has been painted and I also used Sharpie markers to add definition.  The fence, after much thought, was created out of a pipe cleaner also 'painted' with Sharpie markers.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas wishes

Today I would like to share one of the Christmas songs that consistently brings me to tears (happy ones, don't worry!).  It is performed by Faith Hill.  Please have your sound on and enjoy the melody and the message.

I would also like to share several quotes that you might find inspirational....

"Want to keep Christ in Christmas?  Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you"  (Steve Maraboli)

"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" (unknown)

"Christmas gift suggestions...To your enemy, forgiveness.  To an opponent, tolerance.  To a friend, your heart.  To a customer, service.  To all, charity.  To every child, a good example.  To yourself, respect"  (Oren Arnold)

"Always remember the greatest gift you ever own is not found in the shops or under your Christmas tree.  It is found in the hearts of your family and your true friends"  (unknown)

And of my favourites..."Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more"  (The Grinch)

This will, I think, be my last post before Christmas because I know we are all busy with preparations, get togethers and time spent with loved ones.  So from my family - to yours - our best wishes for  a very blessed, safe and happy Christmas.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The last one, mail and gifts

This is the last of the postcards I made and sent to unsuspecting victims over the holiday season...

I meant to post a picture of a wee surprise that arrived in my mail a week or so ago.  This beautiful ATC was a very unexpected gift and I thought you might like to see it...

The mail yesterday had another sweet little surprise from my friend Sherry.  She is an amazing tatter and she sent me this beautiful Christmas wreath...
Isn't it gorgeous?
Thank you Sherry!!

And - to add to the gifts I received....yesterday I had lunch with a very long-time friend and she gifted me with these...

Only another quilter truly 'gets' what makes up THE best gift - and she knew I had been searching for fabrics for my barns.  Aren't these perfect?? AND she also gave me the adorable scrubby and the most incredible scented hand sanitizer.  Methinks I'm spoiled!  Thank you MEK (oh yes - and there was a tin of homemade goodies too!).  

Today the quote is from Larry Wilde..."Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall"

Monday, December 18, 2017

Another postcard, a rant, and something new

Another of the postcards.  Sorry that the quality of the photos is dismal - obviously I took the pictures on a day the sun was in hiding.   You can get the general idea though.


Many of you will remember my -itching awhile ago about my new sewing machine (due to the unfortunate accident that befell my oh-so-beloved Janome) and the ensuing 'fix' from the shop (for the new machine, not my Janome, unfortunately).  Over the weekend I started creating a new barn landscape which requires the use of a zig zag stitch and (fingers crossed) invisible thread.  Well, all I have to say is, under NO circumstances, ever consider buying a Bernette 20 sewing machine.  No matter what I do it will not cooperate.  I have tried every single tension setting.....I have tried every single suggestion that came from my loyal readers (and several more I found elsewhere online).....I purchased a fancy metal 'holder' that ensures that the thread feeds correctly off the spool into the sewing machine.....I even went so far as to use the suggestion of taping a safety pin to the side of my machine and running the thread through that for additional tension.  Hah.  My machine continues to thumb its nose and I'm certain I can hear it saying 'gotcha again'.  The words I'M saying are definitely not so nice!!  In a perfect world Santa would come out of the woodwork and there would be a new Janome under the tree this year, but alas poor Santa hasn't won the lottery lately.  So....I guess I'm in for a ton of hand stitching.

****** Updated to add:  Guess what?  I just checked the online shop for the store I got it from....and they don't carry Bernettes any more.  I wonder why THAT would be!!!!!! ***********


Now that you have read through the rant (or perhaps skipped right over it, for which I wouldn't blame you!), how about a picture of the beginnings of the next barn landscape?

 Your quote today is from W. J. Cameron..."There has been only one Christmas....the rest are anniversaries"

Friday, December 15, 2017

And....another one....

This is another of the postcards. 

Instead of a quote today, I thought I'd share this...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

And....another one.......

This is another of the postcards that are now in the hands of the recipients...

In yesterday's comments, Sarah asked how I do my images for my crazy quilts, so I thought I'd answer here so everyone can know.  The images I use come from the internet - just search 'Christmas images - free' (or whatever criteria you like).  Then I save them to my word processing program on the computer and re-size them to suit whatever I'm creating.  You can usually get several images on one page.  

I then choose either a white or off-white fabric with a fine weave (good quality cotton is my preference).  Press it really well to be sure there are absolutely no wrinkles.  Cut a piece of freezer paper (the stuff that butcher's use to wrap meat - waxed on one side) to approx. 10 x 13" and press it onto the fabric.  Re-cut to measure 8 1/2" x 11" and then carefully re-press the edges to be sure they are adhered thoroughly.  Make sure there are no loose threads anywhere.  (Note: you CAN cut your freezer paper to 8 1/2x11" to begin with but in my experience the edges never seem to adhere properly and often catch in the printer).  

At this point I run a 'test' piece of paper through my printer so that I know which way up to place my fabric.  If you're satisfied, load your fabric/freezer paper sandwich and print.  Press really well once again to 'set' the colours as much as possible.  Remove freezer paper and use in your projects.  NOTE:  This process is NOT water proof, so don't use it in anything that you plan to wash.


Today your quote is from Francis of Assisi...."For it is in giving that we receive"

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Another postcard

Here is another of the postcards that winged its way around the world to an unsuspecting recipient...

And, here is another of the things that was created in our kitchen for Christmas giving...

There were three aluminum turkey roasting pans filled with what we call 'Kibbles 'N Bits' (probably better known as Nuts & Bolts).  Our recipe calls for more 'bits' than the traditional one...hence the massive amount it makes!  

This morning when we woke up we were greeted with this...

There was one on either side of the sun (they're called 'sun dogs' - not sure why).  What an amazing framework for the sun! Of course they were much more brilliant in real life. Don't know if you can see the snow piled on the tree branches....we were rather dumped on over the past 24 hours.

Today your quote is from Henry David Thoreau...."The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much"

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Little crazy quilts

Some of you will remember my moan awhile ago about how I managed to spill my glass of water onto some crazy-quilted postcards I was working on and how the ink ran on the images.  The surviving ones were completed and mailed out and I think they have all been received now, so I can show you. 

I'll share the rest with you over the next few posts.

Today your quote is from Norman Wesley Brooks..."Christmas is forever, not just for one day.  It's for loving, for sharing, for giving....not to be put away likes bells and lights and tinsel.  The good you do for others is the good you do for yourself."

Monday, December 11, 2017

Stir, stir, bake....awwwww......

Over the weekend DH made these...

this appeared in my sewing room...

Do you suppose this means that after 
38 years he still loves me?

Your quote today is another one from an anonymous source..."When a child gives you a gift, even if it is a rock they just picked up, exude gratitude.  It might be the only thing they have to give, and they have chosen to give it to you"

Thursday, December 07, 2017

More for 'the box'...

I've been toying with the thought of making soap for several years and this became the year.  The picture isn't very clear (sorry!) but I was trying to show how I packaged them.  Melt & Pour soap  some done in a feminine scent and some in a masculine....wrapped in light-weight brown paper....added a colored band made from scrapbook paper....a label (from Avery, printed on my computer) and the whole thing encased in little cellophane bags.  They smell so nice!!  

Today I have another quote from an anonymous source...."A friend is someone we turn to when our spirits need a lift.  A friend is someone we treasure, for friendship is a gift.  A friend is someone who fills our lives with beauty, joy and grace.  A friend makes the world we live in a better and happier place."

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Another thing for the Christmas box

This is a sweater for our oldest grandson.  Pattern is 'Flax' by Tin Can Knits and can be found in sizes from 0-6 mos. up to 4XL HERE.  I used Vanna's Choice yarn and it worked up beautifully.  An easy pattern with just enough interest to make it not at all boring to knit.  I will be making this one again.

Instead of a quote today, I found this....

Friday, December 01, 2017

Bubble, bubble....

Here at Chez Magpie, you never quite know what will be happening on the creative front.  Yesterday it was time to start making some of the gifts that will be coming from the kitchen and this was one of them...

Red Onion Pickles!  

Whilst in the mode (and mess!) of canning, there was also a batch of Cranberry Relish and some Praline Sauce created.

Another quote today that comes from an anonymous source:  "Some things are just wonderful, like friendship and chocolate cake"