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, August 31, 2018

What else is new? A dose of mumblings!

Just wanted to remind you that some of your
comments are still not coming through to my
email inbox so I will try my best to reply to
you directly on my blog.  Please, if you don't 
receive a response, don't think I'm ignoring you!
I appreciate hearing from you so much!!

Alas I seem to have no pictures of my work available to show you today.  It's been one of those weeks where I was being 'social' and there was precious little in the way of creativity happening.  I can, however, lead you to what I'm working on in the evenings.  If you go HERE and scroll down to the bottom and notice the blue and white sweater on the right you'll see.  Mine will be somewhat different and I will be sharing a picture as soon as I get it done.  Seems to me there's a wee grandson out there that just 'happens' to be a fan of Chase and so a doting grandma can't let this opportunity pass her by.  

A bit of a report re 'Jack's balls' - yesterday was laundry day and we gave them a test run.  We used two balls per dryer load and they seem to work!!  The true test will come in the winter when static is more of an issue but for now we're quite pleased.  One of my blog readers (thank you!) said that she uses four at a time with good success so we'll have to keep doing test runs to see what might work best for us.  Jack just might have to make some more!

Today's quote..."No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all.  Integrity is everything"

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A new beginning

And another one begins....another barn that is.  This one is another commission and I'm rather excited about it because it's in fall colours, different from any I've done up until this point.  I've been wanting to try this colour scheme so now I have a good excuse.  

This is the photo I'm working from...

and this is how far I've gotten...

Today's quote..."No response IS a response, and it's a powerful one"

Monday, August 27, 2018

Who knew?

NEVER let it be said that this blog hesitates to go where most would fear to go.  Maybe this one is over the top, even for the writer here at Chez Magpie.  Who knows, maybe this time it might be enough to put this blog on the 'red flag' list. the risk of offending anyone's sensibilities....please be forewarned.

The following is an x-rated picture of
Jack's balls.

Yes, they're hanging over the shower rod in the bathroom,
drip drying.
Jack is a wonder - not only does he have more than
the usual allotment, but they're detachable and 
also come in multiple colors!

Get 'yer minds outta the gutter people - did you REALLY think you'd see what you thought you'd see??  Seriously?  These are DRYER balls - or will be, once they've finished drying after felting.  My long-suffering husband patiently rolled wool yarn into balls, boiled them and then felted them....all because we wanted to test to see if all the hype about using these in the dryer instead of dryer sheets is true.  
Of course this writer has a warped sense of humor
and simply HAD to share.  

Your quote..."Give, but don't allow yourself to be used.  Love, but don't allow your heart to be abused.  Trust, but don't be naive.  Listen, but don't lose your own voice"

Friday, August 24, 2018


Yesterday I finished the latest barn project and hopefully my customer will be pleased with it.

A couple of close-ups
(all pictures...I think....should be clickable so you
can see further details)

Terrible angle for the photo but was trying to show the lilac details

Today's quote..."Happiness is a choice, not a result.  Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy.  No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy.  Your happiness will not come to you.  It can only come from you"

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A new planting

Well folks, the lilac bush has been replanted and it's blooming profusely - much better than the more-sickly previous version!!  

What was the fix, you ask??  Well, I reprinted the lilacs onto fabric using a different setting on my computer and that made them brighter....a good thing.  Then I judiciously fussy cut them and applied them to the quilt.  I followed that up with some embroidered 'twigs/stems' and some randomly placed French knots to add a bit of dimension to the shrub.  Much better!!!

Your quote..."The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about"

Monday, August 20, 2018

George Washington ain't got nuttin' on me!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep - he chopped down cherry trees and I lob off lilacs!  

After doing tons (!) of French knots to highlight/create the lilacs on the bush, I decided that the foliage needed to be augmented too.  So...I came up with a grande plan.  You of THOSE plans that are bound to go amuck....and this one did, spectacularly!!!  The plan involved felting the greenery which I thought would be a good foil for the French knots.  The search began for green wool and I lucked out and found a couple of balls of 'almost green' at the local department store.  No problem, said I to self, I can simply water down some paint and dye it!! W-e-l-l, that sorta worked.  Undaunted, I soldiered on (see that?? Another reference to good ol' George!!).  I felted it down and, wonder of wonders, I only broke two felting needles and punctured my finger once.  I was on a roll!

Hmmm....all that felted yarn needed to be held down somehow, so how about free motioning with green thread?  The roll continued (and you KNOW already that the roll was right straight downhill, don't you).  

I sat back and stared at it.  I waited until night and stared at it some more.  And, you guessed it, I HATED it.  Abhorred it actually.  So...undaunted (and refusing to admit defeat)....I hauled out my paint and dabbed it here and there.

Sat back and stared some more.  

Well, suffice to say the scissors were applied and with good ol' George's approval, I just cut that lilac tree right outta there.  

Never let it be said that your intrepid blogger fears showing you her failures.  

And before you all think that you should leave a comment telling me that it looks wonderful, I know better.  Remember, your momma taught you not to lie.  

Oh, and just so you don't think I wasted all that time and effort....I now have the base for a postcard and three atc's.  Waste not, want not. 

Today's quote..."Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything.  Maybe it's about unbecoming everything that isn't really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place"

Friday, August 17, 2018

There was a bit more progress made on the latest barn as you can see from this picture....

The original photo had a lilac bush in the foreground and after much waffling and navel-contemplating, I suddenly had a brainwave and remembered that there's no reason I can't print my own fabric.  So I scouted about the internet and found an appropriate photo and printed it onto my fabric. a fit of complete and total madness....I decided that those lilacs needed to be done in French knots.  Thousands of them.  Possibly even hundreds of thousands.  

Anyway....the barn itself is well underway and that makes me happy.  If you scroll back to my previous post perhaps you can see the difference.  

Another anonymous quote..."Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around"

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes whilst the 'Grande Look Back' was taking place, I actually have been working on something.  And I'd be willing to bet you already know what!!  

Yes, a barn.

I've been commissioned to make two and this is one of the photos my client chose for me to attempt to recreate.

Here you can see the rough beginnings...

Monday, August 13, 2018

Finally. Done. Finished. Over With. Kaput.

And I can hear your collective sigh of relief all the way from here.  The fact that you've stuck with all this backward looking and reminiscing says a lot about you.  Not so sure what it says about me....and I'm not about to ask your opinion on that because I strongly suspect I might not want to know!!

We will visit the final half of 2017 and then will return to the regular mindless mumblings you are accustomed to finding here at Chez Magpie.  

In August I gave birth to these two dolls who promptly went to live with two sisters...
The design for these morphed from the best parts of a number of patterns so I suppose it could almost be said that they are my own.  

In September I was obviously working towards THAT day in December and I was creating these...a lot of these...

Every year I create at least twenty Christmas ornaments which then become either the 'bows' on packages or act as little gifts in themselves.  

In October I created a new 'system' for storing my circular knitting needles which previously were a jumbled up mess.  This was the result...

My own design - each pocket is labeled with the needle size and, in theory, I should be able to find what I'm looking for.  In theory.  

Also in October I revealed what I think was my second barn landscape which was subsequently purchased by our local quilt guild for use as a raffle prize for their next show being held in the spring...

Once I picked myself up off the floor, I felt truly honoured!

Also in October I unveiled a project that I had done for the 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine...

This is a crazy quilted valance which now graces my sewing room window.  And before you go getting all excited and thinking you should be impressed by how much I get done, this one was done entirely on the machine so was f-a-s-t.

For those of you who feel the need of another of the 'Magpie Lessons' have a look at my post HERE.  Don't say I didn't warn you!

So, this brings us to the end of this long, boring, mind numbing retrospective (and I CAN hear you cheering you know).  Unless, of course, you really would like to see some of the 'stuff' that came out of my sewing space to help good ol' St. Nick out, in which case you can have a peek at my December posts for 2017 in my sidebar.  

Another great anonymous quote..."You don't meet people by accident.  There's always a reason...a lesson or a blessing.

Friday, August 10, 2018

17, or part thereof

I waffled about doing 2017 in this look back but finally decided it would complete the set so to speak so I opted to go ahead. I promise that there's only one more post in this series and then we'll return to the regular mumblings.  

In January of 2017 I began working on another of my long-time 'wanna do' projects, this time using images created by Harrison Fisher who was quite famous for his art that often appeared on the covers of prominent magazines of his time.  I found a number of his illustrations that made me think of courtship so thus my 'Courtship' crazy quilt was born.  The first block was completed on Jan. 24...

...and if you visit my blog post from HERE you can see all the individual blocks.  If you are interested in seeing this project develop feel free to scroll through my blog posts dating from late January until May 22nd.

Here is the finished wall hanging...

 The words around the edge are 'I'm gonna love you, like nobody's loved you, come rain or come shine'. I also challenged myself to include a heart, a word, a rose, and a vine on each block. It measures 36" square and is for sale if anyone would like to contact me.  

Throughout April and May of 2017 I was happily enthralled with creating felt play food for our #1 grandson.  This is one example of the fun things I made for him...

If you want to see more check out the 'felt food' label in my sidebar.

In May I also completed work on a fun challenge project that was through the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design and sponsored by Swarovski.  

(Sorry about the glare on the glass!).
If you would like to see more details and read more
about this project, have a look at the post HERE.  

In June I also completed another crazy quilt project which was featured in the 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine (and is now hanging in a local church)...

And in July, just for fun, I crocheted this wee little fellow who went on to live with our # 2 grandson..

The pattern is 'Donato' and is a free pattern found HERE.  

Another anonymous quote for you...."Most of the problems in life are because of two reasons:  we act without thinking or we think without acting"

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

The other half of 16

I know you have to be beyond bored with all this, but we're almost there!  In this post we'll have a peek back at the last half of 2016.

In July I finished working on a knitted baby blanket...

The pattern was a free one from Bernat and can be found HERE.  

Also in July I played with making a fun little Tilda doll, as you can see here...

The pattern came from one of the books written by Tone Finnanger.

The Autumn issue of the 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine showed my crazy quilted family tree...

If you would like to see further information about this piece, 
you can have a look at my post HERE.  

In August the weather was very hot and I was contemplating the difference between a bear and BEING bare.  Since this isn't an X-rated blog, I thought the furry sort would be the better thing to share...

The pattern is from Vogue #7534 and was a gift for our #2 grandson

In November, I completed working on a quiet book, also for him...

If you would like to read (and see more pages) about this,
check out the label 'Quiet Book' in my sidebar.

Also in November I put the finishing touches on this crazy quilted Santa wall hanging which appeared in the Winter issue of the 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine....

In December Grandma's knitting needles were busy creating this sweater for our #1 grandson...

The pattern is from a Beehive booklet called 'Knit Menagerie"

Monday, August 06, 2018

On drooling, bibs...and....oh yes.... 1/2 of 16

Never let it be said that here at Chez Magpie there is ever a lack of eyebrow-raising and disbelief.  The latest on that front is that the Mrs. has reverted to childhood.  Yes, people, she parted with the princely sum of $1.64 (plus tax) for the giant economy sized box of 64 Crayola crayons.  Can drooling and bibs be far behind? 

Now....on to the look back and a visit to 2016...

In March I completed work on a bed throw that currently graces the foot of our bed (and admirably covers the fact that our mattress is extra long and manufacturers don't make bedspreads long enough).  This was created using some (a mere drop in the bucket actually) of my stash of white 'stuff'.  There's bits of things that belonged to my mother and grandmother - along with things that have been gifted to me over the years for use in my crafting...

If you'd like to read more (and see more pictures) have a look at the post HERE.   

April saw me put the finishing touches on my spring-themed crazy quilt pillow cover...

If you would like to see ALL the pillow covers in one place, have a look at the post found HERE.  

In May I made this little Lego blanket for our oldest grandson (and another one will be created for our youngest in another while)...

The pattern is called the 'Building Blocks Throw' and is free HERE.  

Also in May and also for our oldest grandson, grandma created a pirate costume for him to wear at his birthday party.  

And, just to add a little humour to this post, HERE is another of my 'sillies' that I wrote about.  

At the end of June in 2016 I began what would prove to be a long series of seam treatment designs that I insisted on sharing with you (whether you were interested or not!!).  You can get access to them all simply by clicking on 'seam treatments' in my sidebar.  All free - all the time!!

Friday, August 03, 2018


Continuing on with the little series of peeking back at some of the things I've done, we're now ready to re-visit the rest of 2015.

In the spring of 2015 I was honored to be asked to become the Assistant Editor and proofreader for Pam Kellog's new 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine.  Since then much of what I have created in crazy quilt has been for publication there.  Not only that, but my work graced the very first cover!  

Also in 2015, Kathy Seaman Shaw asked me to proofread  her series of crazy quilting books and she subsequently has published two volumes: 'Beyond the Basics' (2015) and 'Ribbon Embellishments' (2016).  It was a huge honor to be asked to help her with these projects. Both books can be found on Amazon HERE and HERE.  

In late August I was doing an over-the-top happy dance because I was finally finished the 'Sane Quilts from H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks'. For those of you who weren't around then, I was asked to create a king-sized sane quilt for #1 son and daughter-in-love and when I went to purchase the fabric I got too much.  WAAAAAAY  too much!   Enough to make two (count 'em....two!) large quilts AND a double quilt AND pillow shams.  Proves I know absolutely zilch about how much fabric is necessary for these things!  (btw - see my previous post about my sense of humour if you want to read more about this debacle).  Anyhoo.....this is the final (double-sized) quilt that came out of it all...

I was working on a series of crazy quilted pillow covers and in October I completed this one...

In November I was in the throes of creating for Christmas and I made several of these pincushions for gifts...

The pattern for the cake came from HERE,  the whipped cream from HERE   and the strawberry from HERE.  

In December I completed the Christmas-themed pillow cover....

Also in December I finished crocheting this wee blanket...

And December saw the final result of seven years of my life spent transcribing (and publishing) three large family diaries...  

These diaries covered the daily life in a farming community from the years 1869 through 1943.  

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

14 and a teeny bit of 15

Today our look back will include 2014 and a little bit from 2015 (are you bored yet?????).  

In February of 2014 I completed work on this needle roll...

You can see further pictures of the outside and the inside by
going to my post HERE  and HERE.

In September I was able to share this...

....which was the 'January' page for the
2014 crazy quilt calendar sponsored by 
Pam Kellogg (KittyandMeDesigns).

By October I was working hard on creating gifts for 
Christmas and this crocheted doily was one of them...

Pattern was found on Ravelry - "Rose Doily #804"


Also in October I completed a commission for one of my crazy quilted purses.  

The pattern is "The Gadabout' and is by Studio Kat Designs

In December I completed work on my second White Cloth, inspired by an online class from Karen Ruane...

Moving on, we will now have a peek at what I was doing in 2015...

In March I completed work on a rose-themed hussif...

You may see more pictures and read more about it HERE and HERE.  

For those of you who appreciate my sense of humor, perhaps you'd like to
be reminded of it by reading my post from March found HERE.  

And if you go to THIS post you can see some of the results of what
was happening in March!

Also in June, I completed this hussif with an Asian theme...

If you would like to see more pictures, have a look HERE.

Another of the anonymous quotes from my collection..."If you have a family that loves you, a few good friends, food on your table and a roof over your head, you are richer than you think"