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?.....