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.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy 2019 - and the year that was

Many bloggers are doing a little look back at the year that was and highlighting some of their projects, so I thought I'd join in.  Pictures only - no commentary!  Enjoy.

PLEASE NOTE:  I'm giving you a head's up now so that you can be ready for a slight change that will be happening here at Chez Magpie beginning tomorrow.  More and more of your comments are not arriving in my email inbox for me to respond to, so many others seem to be doing.....I will be changing my method of responding.  Effective tomorrow I will change ALL my responses to your comments to  the blog itself, which will mean you will have to remember to check the previous post to see my responses.  If there is anything more in-depth, I will continue to email you as previously.  Hope this doesn't upset anyone too much!!

Today's quote is from Oprah Winfrey...."Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right"

Friday, December 21, 2018

Merry Christmas wishes

This will be my last post until after Christmas,
Resident Chef and I would like to
extend our best wishes for a 
happy and blessed Christmas
to you and those you hold most dear.
Be safe, be warm, and be full!

My gift to you is this wonderful Christmas song that I must admit brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.  Please enjoy...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Yes, there IS something creative happening here!

Something DID happen on the creative front here and I finished knitting this wee baby toy!

This used up some stash yarn and is the Knubbelchen pattern found on Ravelry.  Right now I'm working on its twin - just because I think there's enough yarn left on the ball and I might as well use it up!

And....the final creation from the kitchen here at Chez Magpie - homemade chocolates.  They don't look as pretty as the store-bought versions, but they sure do taste good!

UPDATED TO ADD:  Look at what just arrived at our door!!!....

๐Ÿ’–Thank you Shawn, Winnie and Theo!!!๐Ÿ’–

Today your quote is from Steve Maraboli...."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"

Monday, December 17, 2018

Reveal Day!!!

Today is the big reveal day for the Christmas ornament swap that was so beautifully arranged by the lovely Stephanie of The Enchanting Rose .  She is so generous with her time and makes every aspect of the swap fun.  Thank you once again, Stephanie!!

My partner was Marina and she spoiled me absolutely rotten!  Marina and I have a bit of a history with swaps because she was on the receiving end of my package in one of the mug swaps.  Lucky me to be on the same end of one of HER goody-filled parcels!  This is what I received...

A lovely sparkly hand-knitted scarf; monogramed note cards; Christmas socks (I didn't have any, so I was thrilled!); a snowman assortment of note papers with a Christmas pen; a sweet cardinal cross stitch kit to make an ornament for my tree....

.....a wonderfully scented snowman sachet; cardinal hot mat and oven mitt and a nutcracker ornament.  

Thank you Marina!!!  
You know I love everything!

My partner was Kelly and this is what I sent her...

I made her a Santa mug rug; a redwork ornament; and a lace Christmas card...along with some hot chocolate and some tea.  

Thank you once again to Stephanie and to Marina!  My Christmas came early this year!!

Today your 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"

Friday, December 14, 2018

Last one!

This is the last recipe, at least for now!  You can tell that not much is happening on the creative front here at Chez Magpie, hence the seemingly never-ending parade of soups!

6 – 7 potatoes, peeled cubed

3 leeks, peeled and chopped

2 – 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
6 stalks celery, sliced
6 c. water (or chicken stock)
6 T. margarine (or butter)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 T. flour
2 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. thyme
3 c. milk
     Cook potatoes, carrots, leeks and celery in water until tender.  Saute onion and garlic in margarine.  Add flour.  Combine potato mixture, onion mixture and spices, along with milk and heat through.  Use medium-low heat so it doesn’t scorch!

Today your quote is from Bob Hope..."My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple:  loving others.  Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Another soup recipe for you

This is another of the favourite soups we often eat over the winter.  Enjoy!
Please note: for some reason Blog-grrr has left
spaces in the recipe so it appears as tho' I might
have left some ingredients out - not the case!!!

3 T. olive oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

8 c. butternut squash cut into 1 ½” pieces

½ c. brown sugar OR maple syrup
s & p to taste
½ tsp. sage
2 medium red onions, sliced 
1 ½ c. roasted red peppers
2 c. apple juice (or cider)
4 ½ - 6 c. chicken or beef broth (or combination)
¾ tsp. ginger (optional – or use less….to taste)
1 c. whipping cream or condensed milk

     Coat large roast pan with olive oil.  Add squash, onions, garlic and red peppers.  Cover with 2 c. apple juice.  Season with salt and pepper.   Sprinkle with ½ c. brown sugar (or maple syrup).  Bake @ 350 for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.  In the meantime, bring stock to almost boiling and keep hot.  Add spices when vegetables are done.  Combine veg’s and stock and blend to desired smoothness.  Return to stove to keep warm and stir in whipping cream (or condensed milk).  Garnish with grated cheddar cheese and chives if desired.

Today your quote is from another anonymous source..."If you want to feel rich just count all the things you have that money cannot buy"

Monday, December 10, 2018

Another soup recipe!

Here's another recipe from the kitchen here at Chez Magpie.  Enjoy!

1 pkg. dry beans (navy beans or mixture) – cover in cold water and let stand overnight.  Drain.
2 lbs. cooked pork or 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
½ tsp. pepper
3 T. Worcestershire
2 T. parsley
28 oz. can tomatoes
large can of tomato paste
1 ½ tsp. EACH of basil & oregano
½ tsp. dry mustard
Water to fill the pot(s). This recipe makes at least
one large pot and quite likely two (lots for the


                Simmer together three hours (more is better!).  

Friday, December 07, 2018

And now, for a change of pace....

T'is the season for soup, so I thought over the next couple of posts I might share a few of the recipes that we enjoy here at Chez Magpie.  So....from our kitchen, to yours.....


3 lb. beef stew meat, cut into ½” cubes

1 large can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 large can pasta sauce
2 medium onions, chopped
2 T. parsley
2 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. thyme
4 beef bouillon cubes
½ tsp. pepper
10 c. water
1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
2 c. chopped cabbage
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 c. uncooked macaroni

 In slow cooker (or on stove top), combine beef, tomatoes, pasta sauce, onions, parsley, salt, thyme, bouillon, pepper and water.  Cover and cook on low 7 – 9 hours or until meat is tender.  Add remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on high 30 -45 mins. 

Today's quote is from Catherine M. Wallace..."Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what.  If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them ALL of it has always been big stuff"

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

It was a good plan, really it was....

Today I had a plan of something fun to show you.  It was a good plan.  But as some plans are prone to do, it didn't work out.  It was a dud.  A dismal failure.  A flop.  An oops of monumental proportions.  Yes, who knew that here at Chez Magpie something would be done that wouldn't be salvageable. 

A month or so ago your author thought it would be a brilliant plan to send our long-distance grandson a jigsaw puzzle for Christmas.  So far, so good....right?  Said author ordered wonderful large wooden puzzle pieces that would be perfect for little hands to manipulate.  Still good...right?  The plan was to print a picture of the doting grandparents, glue it to said puzzle pieces, and then let the little one have the fun of 'putting us together'.  Well.  The plan was going along swimmingly....until......

The gluing part went perfectly.  The two coats of sealant went beautifully.  And then.....and then.....

How in blazes do you take it apart??

Hmmm.....said Magpie.   Hmmm.....said Magpie's Resident Chef.  Aha....said Magpie.....a fine exacto knife will cut around the edges!  Well, not so much.  The two coats of sealant, to say nothing about the coat of glue, meant that you could no longer see the outlines of the puzzle pieces.

Hmmmm.....said Magpie.   Hmmmm.....said Resident Chef.  Aha....said Chef....we can peel off the picture and start over.  Brilliant....said Magpie.  

This is the point in 'another' story where you remember the words....they huffed, and they puffed, and they blew the house down....

'Nuff said.
(other than may it RIP)

Oh - would you like to see the picture of your author and her Resident Chef?  The one that was *supposed* to grace the ill-fated puzzle?

Today your quote is from Samuel Beckett..."Ever tried.  Ever failed.  No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better"

Monday, December 03, 2018

Bubble, bubble, toil....and redo.....

Over the weekend I made my first attempt at making lotion bars and after several tries I think I got it.  I hope!  I bought a lovely new mold that I thought would be's hard-sided and not the silicone type I use for making soap.  So, I melted the ingredients and poured them in.  Waited the appropriate length of time and then....drumroll....could NOT get them out of the mold.  Hmmm.....

Aha! Light bulb moment!

What if I put them in the fridge and let them cool a bit?  Woo hoo - it worked. all the efforts to remove them earlier they looked like something the cat had chewed.  Back to the drawing board....

A re-melt later, along with a cooling period and then a time out in the fridge resulted in lovely little hearts that just popped right out of the mold.  Success?

Not so much.

They were just too soft.  I couldn't even pick one up without it melting into a puddle of goo.  Hmmm....

I am nothing if not stubborn!

Another re-melt and an addition of quite a bit more beeswax resulted in something that I *think* will stand up to use.  See?.....

Friday, November 30, 2018

Socks - but not the sort you fill.....

....unless it's with feet!

Another gift off my Christmas list!
The pattern is what I suspect will be my
one and only go-to:  Wise Hilda's Basic Ribbed Sock
by Kate Atherley and can be found on
Ravelry HERE.  
Yarn is from Regia - the 'Pairfect' line, which
makes it SO easy to get matched socks.

Today the quote is from Wale Ayeni...."Be thankful for what you have.  Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else's fairy tale"

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Another gift off my list!

I just finished sewing this apron that will be gifted to a friend who likes to bake...

The pattern is a commercial one - McCall's M5551.

Another quote from an unknown source..."When buying from a hand maker, you're buying more than just an object.  You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation.  You are buying days, weeks & months of frustration and moments of pure joy.  You aren't just buying a thing, you are buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a moment of someone's life.  Most importantly, you're buying the artist more time to do something they are passionate about"

Friday, November 23, 2018

Another quick project

This is a little project that I whipped up recently, using a pre-created crazy quilt block I had in my stash.  

Nice to hang over the arm of a chair so your sewing tools are at hand.

Today's quote is from Samuel Taylor Coleridge..."Advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks, into the mind"

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

What is a grandmother to do?

Yes, what IS a grandmother to do when there's a special request extended to make our youngest grandson a special blanket?  A shark blanket, no less!

This guy is in the process of swimming his way out to BC (via courier, NOT the miserable striking Canada Post!!).  The pattern can be found HERE, made in the toddler size.  Although, if I had to do it again I'd be almost tempted to make the adult size, just so there's a bit more room to wrap up in it.  

Today's quote is from Emmet Fox..."It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble; how hopeless the outlook; how muddled the tangle; how great the mistake.  A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.  If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world"

Monday, November 19, 2018

Another wee giftie

I'm sure many of you will remember me pointing you towards a wonderful You Tube video of a grandma reading a book called 'Wonky Donkey' to her grandson (if you haven't seen it, just google it!).  Anyway, I ordered a copy of the book for our #2 grandson for Christmas because it's just too funny to pass up.  Lucky me, I stumbled across a really cute crocheted donkey pattern so, being the doting grandmother I am, I simply HAD to make one to go along with the book.  (what else can a grandmother do?)

Because the wonky donkey in the book has 'issues' I thought it was fitting that my first attempt at his head resulted in this...


The second attempt was MUCH better!

The book is 'The Wonky Donkey' by Craig Smith.

The pattern is by Gaelle Quemener of  Du Reve A La Creations and can be found HERE.  

Today your quote is from Maya Angelou...  "We must support each other and empathize with each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike"

Friday, November 16, 2018

A finish!

Some of you may remember me showing you a t-shirt quilt I was working on awhile ago that will be a Christmas gift for our #1 grandson who is four.  Yesterday I put the last stitch into the binding and here it is....done......!!!

This is the original picture I showed you before it was quilted and bound....

Now to start collecting more shirts for 
a quilt for #2 grandson when he graduates to 
his 'big boy bed'.

Today's quote is from John Wesley..."Do all the good you can...By all the means you can.....In all the ways you can.....In all the places you can....At all the times you can.....To all the people you can.....As long as ever you can"

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Yet another alas and alack....

My fingers have been busy, honestly they have, but unfortunately there's not one single thing that's quite ready to be revealed at this moment.  So...I will show you a picture of the next 'barn' (although this one features a house!) I will be working on.  The pattern is all drawn up and I'm chomping at the bit to get started!

Finally, I want to share my sorrow and grief at what is happening in California right now.  Words simply can't express the sheer magnitude of the loss.  God bless the people who have lost their lives, the people who have lost everything, and the fire fighters who risk their lives every moment of every day.  Winston Churchill, although referring to another type of devastation, said this..."We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival"

Monday, November 12, 2018

Something you will find..... the current issue of 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine.  This is the Santa Claus (and tutorial to make your own) that I designed for the magazine and you can get your copy by clicking on the cover picture in the list at the side of my blog.  

This quote from Carl Reiner pretty much sums up my feelings about winter...."A lot of people like snow.  I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water"

Friday, November 09, 2018

The fun never ends

I'll lead off this post with my thanks to everyone who extended their sympathy to us after the passing of Jack's sister.  We are so grateful that your thoughts were with us.  She was 83 and had been in a nursing home with Alzheimer's so it was hard to be too sad knowing that she wouldn't have wanted to live like that.

Last week I did manage to finish up a set of Christmas ornaments that will be donated to the local quilt guild who are decorating a charity tree.  I made these years ago and had forgotten just how time consuming they are to make - to say nothing about the sheer amounts of straight pins needed to make them!!

The pattern can be found in many places around the internet - just google 'folded fabric ornaments' and you'll find all sorts of examples.  

I didn't want to lead this post with the picture I'm about to show you because I thought you'd run away screaming but never let it be said that here at Chez Magpie I shy away from the not-so-nice.  Just prior to my SIL's passing, I started developing redness on one side of my face and knew I was in for another bout of whatever-it-was that happened to me last June.  Just what I needed when we were having to deal with a funeral.  I used lots of ice and aloe and managed to keep the redness down enough that I hoped no one would really notice.  Since then it's flared to the degree that it's very red and swollen.  I thought it was an allergic reaction to something and I'm probably right in thinking that.  Had an online consult with my doctor last night and after sending her pictures, the diagnosis is excema.  It appears this will be something that keeps recurring - it's a once you have it, you'll always have it sort of thing.  Here's what I looked like last night...
Needless to say, going out in public is not something I'm about to do right now.  I'm not vain enough to care what I look like but I certainly don't want people to look at me and then turn their eyes to Jack and wonder if he was the cause of it.  (hmmm.....maybe I've suddenly developed an allergy to him????.....hmmmm.......).  This, too, shall pass - but I wish it would hurry up!

Another anonymous quote..."As a kid I think I ate too many rice krispies.  Now all my body does is snap crackle and pop!"

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

I'm sorry

I'm sorry about my lack of posting for the past week or so.  Last week was just one of those weeks where I was out more than I was in and there just wasn't anything to show, nor was there time to search out my normal mumblings.  The past few days have been spent dealing with a family funeral and a visit from our #1 son and his family (in order to attend the funeral).  It's been busy and there has been absolutely nothing done around here beyond the basics.  I don't want you to think I've given up blogging because I will be back with the regular doses of mumblings in another few days I hope.  

Friday, November 02, 2018


It's been one of those weeks when I've been busy being social and what creative time I've had hasn't resulted in something worth showing you quite yet.  

Today's quote is from Albert Einstein..."If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects"

Friday, October 26, 2018

Christmas is a'comin'......

I know, those weren't words you were wanting to hear, but unfortunately it's on the way and there's not a whole lot we can do about it.  So....Mrs. Santa's workshop has just finished creating two of these....
  But....what are they you say?

Do you give up?  Well, they're mug carriers!  When we go to our quilt guild meetings we have to take along our own mug for our coffee or tea, so I thought having a carrier would help protect them, AND look rather cute too.  One is for me (the one on the right) and the other is a gift for my friend who just joined the guild.  Pattern was taken from HERE   with a few modifications of my own.  I felt that the bag wasn't quite deep  (tall?) enough to properly enclose my mug so I added 2" to the pattern and instead of the fabric loop that goes over the button I chose to use a 4" piece of elastic.  I also modified the amount of elastic suggested for the sides and instead of using 4" for each side I used 3"...makes it a little more secure I felt.  

Anonymous, again...."The older you get, the more you realize you have no desire for drama, conflict and any kind of intensity.  You just want a cozy home, a nice book and a person who knows how you drink your coffee"

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Thanks and something different

First of all, I want to thank everyone who took part in the copyright discussion I raised in my last post (scroll down if you missed it and/or want to read the thoughtful comments I received).  Feel free to continue to add to the discussion too!  

Now, at the suggestion from one of the comments (thank you Christine!) I am once more throwing it out to you for your input.  If you happen across any abandoned barns, churches or houses (wood construction preferred) and would be willing to take photos and send them to me I would be delighted.  I am searching for inspiration for further creations and it appears I have pretty much exhausted the possibilities in this area.  If you do share photos with me I hope you would be okay with my using them in my work.  Thank you in advance!!!!

This is something a little different that I made over the past few days.  Thanks to Mary Ann for sharing her pattern with me!