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!!

- THIS looks amazing - not sure how difficult it would be to make though!

- One of THESE would be handy to store the fabrics you got for Christmas - or the ones you already have!  Would make a great knitting basket too.

- THIS is a sweet little cross stitch pattern, which could also be translated into a seam treatment for a crazy quilt project.  And THIS is another really pretty cross stitch design.

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 HERE.  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’–

- HERE is a fun thing that you could make - I think they would look great outside, perhaps along a porch? (minus the PVC pipe!).

- THESE would be quick and fun to make and oh so pretty on a tree!

- Have a look at THIS!!!  Wow.

- There's a great tutorial HERE for mitering corners on your quilts (scroll down to see it).

- THESE are a great idea and quick to make for  last-minute gifts.

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!!

-  THESE would make amazing last-minute gifts (and great for stash busting too!!).

- And THESE would be perfect from-the-kitchen gifts too - I love the presentation she's done for these.  She also has some interesting ideas for stocking stuffers in her post found HERE.

- For a great list of frugal gift ideas, have a read through THIS post Be sure to read the comments too.  Some great ideas there!

- Have a peek at the gorgeous patterns shown HERE.  Not sure where the patterns are available, but the colors and construction are inspiring.

- THESE would be such fun to wear on Christmas day (but perhaps next year?)

- If you're searching for a fun thing to do with the kids between now and Christmas, maybe making some of THESE would be the thing?

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!

- THIS is something fun for the season.  I especially like the star!

- Sometimes I stumble across something that just warms your heart and THIS is one of those things.  Please check it out and do what you can...if you help in your community.  

- THESE are adorable ornaments - perfect for someone who sews!

- Time is a tad short to make THIS for Christmas perhaps, but it would be a nice project to work on over the holidays to keep someone warm over the winter.

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.

- THESE are really cute trees, and easy to make as well.

- THIS would be so much fun to do with kids - and perhaps share with grandparents?

- And THESE are absolutely adorable!!! 

- HERE is an absolutely amazing gift you could make for all your quilting (and sewing!) friends!  I want one of these for myself!!

- There are some pretty brown paper gift wrapping ideas HERE.  And now I can't help it if you now have Julie Andrews singing 'My Favourite Things' running through your head for the rest of the day!๐ŸŽต

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!).  

- Have a look at the sweet ornament tutorial found HERE

- THESE made me smile!  Perhaps they might be fun to wear during the festive season?

- And THIS little guy made me smile too.  Poor fellow, having to make his own scarf to keep him warm!

- There's a great tutorial HERE for a crochet cast on for knitting.  

- THIS is a pretty way to package either a bar of soap or a nice washcloth.....or......?????

- For those of you who do the Elf-On-A-Shelf thing, perhaps there might be a few ideas HERE that might trigger your imagination.  And there are more HERE.  

- THESE would make wonderful gifts! (and great for stash busting too).


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 at the beginning of January.  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 Jan. 1 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!!


The quote for today was found in the latest newsletter from 'Inspirations' and is by Louie Giglio...."Whenever you say yes to anything, there is less of you for something else.  Make sure your yes is worth the less"

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. 

- The very talented embroiderer extraordinaire Karen Ruane has announced her latest online class "Ledgers, A Record of Stitch' and you can find more information on that HERE. I can tell you from personal experience that Karen's ledger class is very worthwhile!

- There's a fun tutorial HERE for woven Christmas ornaments.  I wonder if you could put a small photo in the middle of these?

- THIS is a really sweet cross stitch snowman pattern (opens as a PDF).

- HERE is a fun way to make a cute package for an awkward-sized gift.

- I am showing THIS because I think it's a fabulous idea - and something that kids could easily create.  I don't normally give you links unless I can find the originator - so if you happen to know who made these, please let me know and I will happily give proper credit.

- There are some really attractive Christmas decorating ideas HERE.  I especially like the idea for the bathroom shower curtain - it's always hard to know how to add decorative touches to your bathroom and this might be just what you need!

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)

- THIS is a really handy tip to turn a hank of yarn into a center pull ball.  Cheap and cheerful!

- There is an ongoing '25 Days of Free Patterns' HERE (as well as a link to the patterns from last year).

- Many of us have a single lonely ball of sock or fingering weight yarn lurking in our stash - too good to get rid of, but what to do with it?  Perhaps one of THESE ideas might be just what you're looking for.

- With the current trend for using plaids, how about making some of THESE ear warmers as gifts?

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?.....

- There's a tutorial HERE to make a man's wallet (Christmas gift, perhaps?)

- If you like to make your own Christmas cards, perhaps some of the ideas found HERE might spark your creativity.  I believe you can click on each picture and it will take you to the directions.

- There are some wonderful (and free!) planning pages for December available HERE.  Good way to keep yourself on track during this busy time of the year.

- THESE are rather cute cross stitch snowflakes that could have a number of uses.

- The American Quilt Society is beginning their Christmas Quilt Along and you can find details HERE.  There are links in their post to the patterns from 2015, 2016 and 2017.  LOTS of great ideas!!

- THIS is strictly for Canadians (sorry!), but it's great to know what stores might price match here and help you save a little money!  And for something else that might help you save money, how about creating a price book using the tips found HERE

- There's a pattern HERE for some really cute Christmas ornaments  with a bear theme.

- If the Santa in your house likes to include a chocolate bar in the Christmas stockings, how about using THIS free printable to make them look festive?  These would also look wonderful as a favor on a Christmas table.

Today your quote is from Lyndon B. Johnson...."Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose"

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.
Go HERE to find out more!

- Mary Corbet has posted a list of links to lots of free embroidery patterns that you might want to have a look at HERE.

- Sharon Boggon has announced her plans for the TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday) and Beyond TAST stitching challenge for 2019 and you can get further information HERE.  If you would like to expand your stitching skills and learn lots of new stitches, this is a great way to do it!

- If you are sharing a recipe with someone, perhaps you'd like to use THIS free site to create fun recipe cards - both virtual and printed.  Thank you Joy for sharing this one and you might want to check out her post  HERE about a cookie recipe blog hop that's happening right now.

- If you have an over-abundance of scrapbook paper and are in need of a gift bag, perhaps the how-to found HERE might be what you are looking for.

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.

- There are lots of great ideas for jar gifts HERE.

- Have a drool cloth handy while you have a peek at THESE pretty sewing accouterments!

- Who knew wire coat hangers could, instead of being in a tangle in your closet, become something THIS cool!

- Although THESE are shown in the context of being used for weddings, wouldn't they make great Christmas gifts too?

- THESE would make pretty inserts for special hand made Christmas cards.

- Many of you are familiar with the wonderful mystery quilt projects that Bonnie Hunter shares and, in case you missed it, HERE is part one of the newest quilt.

- Have a peek at the inspired adult version of an advent calendar found HERE!

- THIS is a nice scarf pattern.  It's one that will stay in place.  And THIS is a similar design, but more shawl-like.

- Another really clever idea for a cute gift can be found HERE.

- With the current interest in anything plaid, perhaps THIS might catch your fancy.

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.

- If, like many of us, you have a hard time thinking of Christmas gifts for your husband, how about doing something like THIS?   And if you go HERE there are lots of ideas for the men in your life (most have links to commercial products, but nevertheless the ideas are good). 

- If you plan to give some lottery tickets this year, rather than putting them in a Christmas card and envelope, how about THIS idea for packaging?

- There are some really cute little knitted Christmas stocking ornaments HERE.  

- There are some nice ideas HERE for making your own gift baskets. 

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.  

- THESE would be pretty on anyone's Christmas tree!

- And how about THESE little sweeties?  Or THIS one?

- THESE are wow-worthy - be sure to scroll down to see the amazing examples AND at the end there's a link to how to make your own.

- If you're searching for something fun to make for a small gift, how about THESE?

- I absolutely love THESE!!!!  Wouldn't they look amazing in any sewing room?  And they'd make a wonderful gift for any stitcher!

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.  

- THIS is what looks to be an excellent method of calculating how to make a sweater in any weight of yarn and in any size.  

- THESE are rather cute little snowmen.

- There are a whole lot of watercolor tutorials HERE

- THIS is a rather interesting take on making snowflakes - cloth, not paper!

- There are lots of Christmas quilt patterns HERE

- For the Dr. Who fans out there, check out the patterns HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE  and HERE

- And not to leave the Harry Potter fans out, how about THISTHIS, THIS, or THESE

- And for the Star Wars fans - check out THIS, THISTHIS, and  THIS

- And what's a list like this without some Lego?  HEREHERE (link goes to PDF), and HERE

- And finally, just for the sheer fun of it....check THIS out (and think of the cross stitch possibilities!)

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'.

- I mentioned the other day that I was seeing a lot of Buffalo Plaid lately, and THIS is something that might be welcome under the Christmas tree this year.

- THESE wee yo yo trees would make excellent table favours at Christmas.

- Some of you may be interested in what sounds like a fun  cross stitch stitchalong that's being run by Pam Kellogg beginning in the new year.   Have a peek at her post HERE for further information.

- THIS is a rather cute gift tag idea, but I think they'd also make nice ornaments too.  Great way to practice your free motion skills.

- There are some nice ideas HERE for your Christmas decorating.

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!

- If you happen to have a collection of wine corks floating about (or feel the urge to buy some) you can find a really adorable Christmas use for them HERE (scroll down!).  These would be perfect for little favours at a Christmas dinner.

- At the quilt guild meeting this week a mention was made of jelly roll rugs - of course I hadn't heard of them and wanted to learn more.  Thought you might like to see what I found, so go HERE.

- There are lots of ideas HERE for creating fun shadow boxes for gifts.

- HERE is a cute wee thing you could knit that would easily use up small amounts of yarn.

- And another idea for using up fabric and creating something useful at the same time can be found HERE.

- THIS is a great (and free!) online knitting magazine.

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"