A blog about my interests, which include crazy quilting and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Friday, October 11, 2019

A finish - of sorts, kinda, maybe

I started this sweater for our oldest grandson last Christmas and got bogged down for two reasons.... #1 - it was going to be too big and #2 - I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to make the hood look right.  So it got put in the time out box until recently when I decided it was either finish or frog time.  I took the hood off and just replaced it with a simple ribbing around the neck.  

And - I also finished these....four pairs of sleep pants for #2 son and daughter-in-love.  

It's impossible to take decent pictures of lounge pants!!  So, they're simply in a pile so you can at least see my fabric choices.  All flannelette.   Men's are made using McCall's 4244 and women's are McCall's 4979.  

- Have a look at the eye candy found HERE.

- Some great ideas for your fall decor can be found HERE.

- Two easy ideas for storing your bobbins HERE

Today's quote...."The rest of your life could be the best of your life"

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Just a little bear

My stash yielded just enough fake fur fabric to create this little guy...

Pattern is an old one - Vogue #7534 - and probably is no longer available.  He's about 15" tall.

- HERE is another cute project you might like to create for your fall decor.

- And THIS is a great project that you might like to make either for yourself or for a gift.

- There are tons of free patterns available HERE (you can click on them and it will take you to the patterns themselves).

- Several nice fall-themed quilty patterns can be found HERE.

Today the quote is from Jules Renard...."It's not how old you are, it's how you are old"

Monday, October 07, 2019

Another finish

This one has been ongoing for a couple of months so don't get excited and think I'm churning things out with great pizzazz!  We're expecting a new baby in the family the end of January so this little blanket will be for him....

- Now THESE are interesting Halloween costumes!

- THESE are really cute for Halloween - should be quick to make too.

- THIS is a little project that could make great gifts and reduce your stash at the same time.  Win/win?

- Making some of THESE would be nice for fall decor.

Today's 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, October 04, 2019

A grand finish!!!!!!!!

Although this doesn't look like much on its own, these represent the end of the Grand Sock Knitting Caper of 2019.....

Although it's hard to tell in the picture, these pairs are child-sized....hopefully they will fit!  Now everyone in our family will have new socks for Christmas this year.

- Lots of great links HERE for Christmas-themed table runners.

- Have a peek at the eye candy found HERE.

- And have a look at THIS - so cute!!!  Can't imagine working that small.

Today's quote is from George Carlin...." We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.  We've added years to life not life to years.  We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour.  We conquered outer space but not inner space.  We've done large things, but not better things"

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

The big reveal

Yes, it's time for the big reveal and I know, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that you are all going to be SO disappointed when you discover what it is!!  

Can you guess now?

How about now?

Yes, that's a toilet paper roll lurking in there!  Our bathroom is very small and there's no room for any sort of spare roll holder that might sit on the floor. that hangs on the cabinet instead, and I couldn't resist adding crazy quilting to it.  

I know.....the disappointment is hard to bear isn't it?!

- HERE is a great little gift project that would work as a stash buster.

- THIS would make another gift, particularly for a knitter.

- Some of THESE got an involuntary 'awwwwww' from me.

- Lots of really fun gift ideas HERE too.

- Nice labels HERE to put on your knit gifts and you can go HERE to get them for your crocheted items.

- Lots of sweet patterns HERE!

- The San Francisco School of Needlework and Design (SNAD) has announced their new  Stitch at Home challenge with a theme of Healing and Reflection.  Go HERE to find out more.  

Today's quote:  Time decides who you meet in life, your heart decides who you want in your life, and your behavior decides who stays in your life"

Monday, September 30, 2019

Mystery project update

Here is a  photo of the work I've done on the mystery project...

Any more guesses as to what it might be?  I'm really
enjoying the ones you've thought of so far!

- Stumbled across a little hint for those of you that make dolls and stuffed animals and have trouble getting the necks stiff enough - try using a pool noodle!  You can cut pieces the length and size you need and no danger to a child.

- Lots of cute crochet pattern links HERE

- Pam Kellogg's 2020 Crazy Quilt Calendar is available for purchase now and you can find it HERE (just think how much fun this would be to gift to someone for Christmas!).

- There are lots of links HERE for some pretty crocheted doilies.

- Tutorial HERE for making fidget quilts.

Today's quote..."Life is so ironic.  It takes sadness to know what happiness is,  noise to appreciate silence,  and absence to value presence"

Friday, September 27, 2019

Just a little mystery

The past couple of days I've been working on a small crazy quilt project and will keep it a mystery for now....any guesses as to what this might become?

It measures approx. 20x6"

- Now that many of us are trying to reduce our effects on the environment, perhaps making some of THESE would reduce our usage of deodorizer sprays.

- Never let it be said that here at Chez Magpie there isn't a smorgasboard of links - some useful, and some just plain fun.  THIS one falls under  fun (altho' if you have a Barbie fan in your life, it could prove quite useful).  Scroll down to see the 'bottoms up' photo - made me laugh.

- There are some really cute Halloween patterns HERE.  

- If you're a fan of the 'Outlander' series, perhaps you might find THIS of interest.

Today's quote..."When you're going through hard times and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during a test"

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

and....another finish!

I'm quite happy to report that the adult-sized sock knitting is done!!! Must say I was getting rather tired of socks after having made at least nine pairs (lost count and too lazy to go and check).  Now I'm working on a 5-year old size which seem REALLY small in comparison!

These were made using Paton's Kroy sock yarn that I had in my stash.  I used the same pattern but made some modifications by adding a few stitches and rounding the toe.  Pattern is 'Wise Hilda's Basic Ribbed Sock' by Kate Atherley and can be found HERE on Ravelry.  

- I don't often give you a link to a commercial site, but in this case I simply couldn't resist.  Go HERE to see what astounded me!  Be sure to scroll down.

- There's a wonderful tutorial HERE for a spacious sewing caddy.

- I found THIS Pinterest board of interest.  Lots of inspiration there.  Be sure to scroll down!

Today's quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt..."Great minds discuss ideas;  average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people"

Monday, September 23, 2019

A finish!

Over the weekend I managed to finish the latest landscape quilt....

This one is a fairly local barn and caught my eye because of the 'L-shape'.  I'm sure there's a proper name for it, but I don't know what it is.  This one is for sale if anyone is interested!

- There's a sweet tutorial HERE to make a paper boat.  Wouldn't a whole fleet look pretty turning in the breeze?

- Another nice tutorial HERE to make a reversible apron (Christmas gifts, perhaps???)

- THIS is a cute crocheted pumpkin perfect for your fall/Halloween decor.

- And HERE is another great fabric stash buster that would make great gifts.

Today's quote is from Alexandria K. Trenfor...."The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see"

Friday, September 20, 2019


I'm back!  We had a wonderful two weeks spent in beautiful British Columbia with our #2 son and his family and although we're glad to be home, we also miss them horribly.  Spending a couple of weeks of time with our 3 year old grandson (lots of stories and Grandma playing with building blocks on the floor and Grandpa baking with him) was a complete joy.  We celebrated the 3rd birthday of our grandson and our 40th wedding anniversary while we were there.  Now we face having to get back into our regular lives, punctuated with having to take our car in the first day we were back for a brake job.  Not exactly the homecoming welcome we had hoped for!

Quite obviously there has been absolutely nothing creative happening here at Chez Magpie (altho' I did a little bit of knitting while we were away, but nothing ready to show), so alas there are no pictures to share.   Instead, I will show you a picture of something that happened a lot while we were there - Resident Chef Grandpa and his sidekick - in this photo they're making cookies. 

- For those who have a stash of yarn, perhaps you might find THIS organizational tip of value.

- And there are a number of really handy charts available HERE!  And there are a ton more HERE  (be sure to scroll down).  

Today's quote..."I am not a hoarder.  I just need a bigger craft room"  (wonder how many of us can identify with that?)

Friday, August 30, 2019

An update

This will be my last blog post for a couple of weeks - I'm going on a blogging break and should return the week of Sept 17th.  In the meantime, enjoy yourselves!

I haven't quite finished the latest landscape but thought I'd show you the general direction it's going...

You can see how I use the fabric I was searching
for in a previous post. 

- If you cross stitch, perhaps you might find something HERE that's useful in your work.

- THIS is a pretty little cross stitch design.

- For those of you who enjoy working with paper, perhaps THIS might intrigue you!

- Have a peek at the work of THIS artist (and check out her other galleries too).

- THIS hat is very popular - and warm!  I suppose (sadly) it's time to start thinking about projects such as these (at least in this hemisphere).

Today's quote..."When you see something beautiful in someone, tell them.  It may take seconds to say, but for them it could last a life time"

Monday, August 26, 2019

Just a half

Today I'm only showing you half of the latest landscape because I'm working on the other side and I want it to be closer to being done when you see it.  

Truthfully, this side isn't done either, but it's more finished than the other (if that makes the least bit of sense!).

- Last time I showed you the hint about freezer storage and now I've stumbled across something else I certainly didn't know.  THIS link takes you to a commercial link but thought it was worth sharing.  Wonder how many of us have this tool with our sewing machines and didn't realize?  I had one with my beloved Janome and only ever used the brush end of it.  

- Have a look at the work done by THIS amazing artist!

- For those who are Star Wars fans, there's THIS.

- THIS would be an excellent use for orphan quilt blocks with a simple change to the overall dimensions as needed.

Today's quote:  "Do not judge by appearances because a rich heart may be under a poor coat"

Friday, August 23, 2019


I have some more done on my latest landscape, but it's not all that different from what you saw last time, so....instead of a picture of what looks like no change, I thought I'd share the zucchini muffin recipe....

2 c. shortening
4 c. white sugar
8 eggs, beaten
4 tsp. vanilla
9 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. cinnamon
10 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
1 c. sour milk 
8-10 c. grated zucchini
TOPPING:  1/2 c. brown sugar + 1 tsp. cinnamon
Combine shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients and add to shortening mixture, along with sour milk and zucchini.  Place in greased muffin tins and top with topping.  Bake at 385 degrees F for 11 minutes or til test done.  Makes 48 large muffins.  NOTE:  milk can be soured with a little lemon juice or you can use buttermilk.

I'm toying with, and pondering over,  and trying to be sensible as I try to decide whether or not to tackle making this....
I've had the Piecemaker's calendar (with pattern) in my stash since, obviously, 2009.  Ten years I've been thinking about it.  But, then my sensible side comes out and I wonder what on earth I would DO with it if I did make it.  We only have one bed in this household and it's already covered.  My boys (and their wives) would turn up their noses at it and there is certainly, most definitely, decidedly, no wall space to hang it.  And then there's the question that IF (big if!) I were to make it would I stick to the black & white theme as shown or go off in a whole 'nother direction and make each block a colour study.  The latter would suite my stash much better because at this point I doubt I would have enough blacks to do it justice (at least not without a lot of repeats throughout).  And then there's the proverbial need/want to reduce my stash....but then.....what would I DO with it!!!  
waffle, waffle.....

- Have a peek at the amazing work of THIS artist!  And yes, it's stitched!!!!!!!

- And THIS  artist too (be sure to check through all her pages).

- And I have a serious case of covet-itis (and yes, I know that's not a word, but it should be!) - over THIS.  Drool.......

- THIS calculator might be a valuable reference tool for knitters.

- I really like what has been done HERE with vintage linens.  

- Some of THESE Halloween costume ideas made me smile - and perhaps might serve as inspiration for you!  The little scuba-diver is adorable.

And, instead of a quote today, I thought I'd show you this (which came as a revelation to me!!!)...

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

On the search, and improvements I hope

I'm sending this out there in hopes that someone might have some scraps of this fabric in their stash that they might be willing to part with.  I don't have a clue who the manufacturer or designer is/was - it's just something that has been lurking in my stash for a long time.  I love using the daisies in my landscapes and I'm down to a precious few and I'd love to have some more.  I could, technically, scan it and print some myself but that's not exactly the right thing to do!!
The bunnies measure approx. an inch and a half from nose to tail.  I have another scrap that has much larger bunnies but the scale isn't what I'm looking for.  Anyway....throwing it out there....

There has been some work done on the latest landscape....for better or worse.  The stitched 'bare' trees were bothering me so after much concentrated effort they were reverse stitched.  Then I didn't like the tree line (behind the barn) so it has been elongated and lightened up somewhat because it was just too dark.  Never let it be said that I'm afraid to go at something with paint...or....horrors....completely cover it up with something else!

and....look what appeared in Resident Chef's 

Zucchini muffins!

- Have you ever tried THIS?  I wonder if the ink would blur in the printing process.  Another thing I need to test out to see if it works!

- HERE's something fun you might like to have a go at.

- I am SO not up on my math, but I found THIS fascinating!  (you'll have to click to play the short video).

- There' s all kinds of free organizer patterns HERE.

Today's quote..."Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles.  It takes away today's peace"

Monday, August 19, 2019

Having a little play time

I took some time off from my landscape (doing some pondering on it at the moment) and had a little play with my new embroidery templates that arrived in the mail the other day and came up with a couple of postcards....

You should be able to embiggen the photos
if you'd like to see more details.

The templates are most definitely a huge success and I highly recommend them to anyone wanting to ensure your stitches are evenly placed.  And they don't have to be used strictly for crazy quilting either!  If you want further information about these great tools, you can have a look at my post HERE.   Thank you again Janet for sending these for me to test out!

- If you like chickens, you're sure to like THIS (there's a link to the free pattern too).  And while we're on the subject of extremely cute animal quilts, have a look at the eye candy HERE. (this one is still a work in progress, but I love it!).

- Karen Ruane (embroiderer extraordinaire!) has announced her new online class which will be starting in September and you may read all about it HERE

- Those of you who like playing with paper (and you know who you are) might like THIS.  (scroll down for the instructions).

- HERE's something fun to make for *that* date in December!

Today's quote..."Eat the cake.  It's someone's birthday somewhere"

Friday, August 16, 2019

Tramping about

Today there as absolutely nothing creative done in my studio.  Instead we spent the afternoon (along with Resident Chef's brother) tramping around in cemeteries searching out long lost relatives.  It was fun, but hot! 

This is one of the more interesting ones we happened across and it was enough to send me off trying to find out more about the Fish Creek battle.

Information courtesy of Wikipedia....

The Battle of Fish Creek (also known as the Battle of Tourond's Coulée ),[4] fought April 24, 1885 at Fish Creek, Saskatchewan, was a major Métis victory over the Canadian forces attempting to quell Louis Riel's North-West Rebellion. Although the reversal was not decisive enough to alter the ultimate outcome of the conflict, it was convincing enough to persuade Major General Frederick Middleton to temporarily halt his advance on Batoche, where the Métis would later make their final stand. 

First we knew that there was  a relative in this battle.

- Good article HERE re prepping for a booth in a craft show.

- THIS is a really cute project that some of you might enjoy playing with.

- There's a tutorial HERE for making a girl's nightie in sizes 3 - 16.

- I know many of you enjoy online quilt shows, so have fun visiting THIS one!

- THIS is for those of you who love your dogs.

- Have a peek at the work of THIS artist!

Today's quote..."I'd give up chocolate, but I"m not a quitter"

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Sometimes I *heart* my mailman!

The mailman brought me something really fun and I must say I'm anxious to start playing with them!  Janet from 'Creative Impressions'  very kindly sent me a set of the brand new 'Embroidery Stitch Templates' that were created to accompany Kathy Shaw's new book 'Stunning Stitches For Crazy Quilts'.    

I am so excited to have a chance to play with them and see how much easier getting my embroidery stitches even will be.  There are 5 sheets of very sturdy plastic templates (example below....)

These are great for any crazy quilter or embroider and do not have to be used along with Kathy's book (altho' it's fun if they are!).  
Thank you Janet!!!!💖💖

There has been some progress on the latest landscape, but this is going to change because I'm not happy with the trees in the skyline.  They look awkward so (I'm sure with much angst during the unpicking process) they're going.

- Came across THIS and thought how cute it would be if you used selvages for the book spines...especially if the names suited a book title.  (Hey Cathy....watcha think????)

- Wouldn't THIS be great to make for a little one who is into ballet?

- Some of you might enjoy THIS pinterest board - some really fun clothing to see!!!  Be sure to scroll down.

Today's quote...."Be careful with your words.  They can only be forgiven, not forgotten"

Monday, August 12, 2019

Over the weekend the main thing accomplished was to make these....

Zucchini relish - a couple jars are
headed for the Christmas box.

And some progress on the latest landscape...

- Have a look at the amazing work done by THIS artist!

- And THIS artist too!!!!  Be sure to see her other gallery HERE

- Good article HERE on the care and cleaning of your quilts.

- For those of you who knit and crochet and are planning a project with stripes and are wondering how it might look, check out THIS handy color generator.

- I have always loved handmade pottery and found THIS short video really interesting.  Would love to see this being made in person!

Today's quote..."10% of conflict is due to difference in opinion and 90% is due to delivery and tone of voice"

Friday, August 09, 2019

A new beginning, and a tip (of sorts)

I'll start with the, don't go getting all excited because it's really nothing all THAT special,  However, most of you know by now that PMS Albatross and I have 'issues' - many issues.  One of them is her infuriating habit of throwing the spool off the holder whenever the spirit moves her.  Maddening to say the least!  So I cast about for something that I could add to the spool spindle to help hold the thread in place.  I didn't want anything too heavy so I hit upon this...

I deconstructed a Gutermann thread spool and got that 'thingie' on the right in the picture.  No idea what it's called!  All you have to do is pry, twist it off the spool and you're left with that funky little piece.

Now you can see it in use.  First is the spool of thread, then the regular disc that's supposed to hold the spool in place, then my little 'thingie' solution.

So far, it seems to be working.  I'm sure PMS is having some sleepless nights trying to figure a way to circumnavigate my solution.  In the meantime I'll bask in finally getting one up on her! can also use that handy little 'thingie' if you're wanting to use a large cone of thread on your machine - sometimes that little 'thingie' fits perfectly in the end of the cone, making it much more secure on your machine.  

And, here is the beginning of another landscape...

Can't put my hands on the original photo (will
show you later) but it's one of my own and was
taken locally.

- I stumbled across THIS and the patchwork style of the bowl caught my eye.  Upon reading the article it intrigued me even more, especially when I saw the artist wielding what appeared to be a needle and thread.  Once I embiggened the photos in the article I realized that she did, indeed, use thread to hold it together. 

- THIS link leads to a YouTube video about making small design boards - very handy for quilters!

- I'm not sure I would ever make one of THESE, but they sure do look rather nice!

Today's quote..."We get so worried about being 'pretty'.  Let's be pretty kind, pretty funny, pretty smart, pretty strong"

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

More additions

Because I made a teddy pillow cover for our youngest grandson, I can't leave the oldest without one, so here is his (which will be going in the Christmas box)....

Made from scraps found in my stash and using a monster picture I found online to create a pattern.  What little boy doesn't like monsters - especially if they're friendly ones!

And, because I had some leftover Thomas the Tank Engine fabric (from making the little apron to go with the felt food) I thought I'd whip up a pillowcase - also going in the Christmas box....

These are SO (SEW?) easy to make!  All the seams are enclosed which makes it nice and sturdy as well.  I found a great tutorial HERE.  (Note - the link goes to the pdf file of the pattern).

- Have a look at the incredible crochet work done by THIS artist!

- The August issue of 'Online Quilt Magazine' has just gone live and you can find out more HERE.  You can sign up to receive the free versions of the magazine or for a small sum you can receive the premium version - both a full of all sorts of information that quilters would find of interest. 

- There's a nice tutorial HERE for a useful wallet.

- HERE is something for the guys - or an enterprising handy-with-tools woman too!

Today's quote..."I was being so good at the craft store, I really was....but then I got out of the car and went in"

Monday, August 05, 2019

Outside, but not looking in

As promised, here are the photos of the outside of the snippet roll needle case.  You can click  to embiggen them if you'd like.

and this photo gives a better idea of the length....

Now it remains to be seen if anyone likes it enough to 
want to learn how to make one for themselves!

- Sometimes I stumble across something that I wonder why I didn't come up with it (mind you, our kids are obviously WAY past this now, but it's good for grandkids too)....have a look HERE.

- I came across THIS while reading another blog and thought it was pretty amazing.  No chance I'll ever see it for real, but if you happen to live in the area or are traveling there, you might like to check it out.

- HERE's another cute little thing you could create for Christmas - they'd look really cute on a tree!

- Lots of great ideas HERE for using one skein of sock yarn.  

- If you have a Spiderman fan in your family, perhaps you might find something HERE of interest.  Some are free, some aren't.

Today, instead of a quote.....

Friday, August 02, 2019

A little more CQ

I finished working on my crazy quilt project - a snippet needle roll.  I've been asked to teach a workshop at our local quilt guild and needed to come up with a prototype so people can see what they will be working on.  I did a snippet roll needle case several years ago (and you can see pictures of it HERE  HERE  HERE and HERE).  This time I will show you a picture of the outside, rolled up, as well as the inside and next time I'll show you the outside.

Pictures are clickable to embiggen

You have to imagine the final three photos joined
together.  The final roll measures about 35" long by
5" wide.  The inside features felt to hold your
needles (that's the areas that are bordered with
blanket stitch).  

- The fall issue of the 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine is now available!  You can get your copy either HERE (print or digital versions) or HERE (print only). 

This issue, as always, is filled with eye candy, tutorials and fun things to inspire you!

- Check out THIS link to find a number of tutorials for making armchair caddies.  

- I've been noticing a ton of microwave bowl holders lately, so HERE is just one idea/tutorial for you.  I'm curious about one thing though - wouldn't it be better if the 'innards' were made of something that was fire retardant (obviously not metal).  I'd be concerned about them being a fire hazard.  Any thoughts on that?  Have you used these successfully?

Today's quote...."Every day is a new beginning.  Take a deep breath and start again"

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Crazy quilting again

Over the past few days I've been working on a new crazy quilt project.  It's not ready to show just yet, but here's a couple of glimpses of what's been done so far...

- If I can find the glycerine, I'd like to give THIS recipe for homemade fabric paint a try.

- Di van Niekerk  is one of the world's leading silk ribbon embroidery artists and she has a wonderful online series on how to embroider a pre-printed design.  THIS goes to part one of the series and from there you can access the remaining series.  Keep in mind that you do NOT have to work on her panel itself, but that her techniques and embroidery can be used in many other applications.  Beautiful!!!!

- THIS is a really pretty crochet pattern - multitude of uses!

- HERE is a fun way to use up denim scraps and make something useful too (you can add as much to it as you like....I think it would look great as plain denim too).

This quote made me smile..."I'm a repurposing, upcycling, vintage adoring, antiquing, dumpster diving, garage sale-ing, thrift store hunting, junk sifting, yard-n-tag sale shopping, glue gunning, stencil & spray painting, do it myself-ing, look what I made kind of girl!"

Monday, July 29, 2019

Two 'fer one special

Today I have a two 'fer one special going on (two projects 'fer one post...hah hah).  First of all, I made a couple produce bags....

Stash fabric, but I purchased the mesh which is the 'stuff' you use when lining bathing suits and such.  Don't know what it's called though!

And...another pair of the generic socks that will be going in the Christmas box....

Pair 5 of 9
Regia sock yarn

- THIS is a really cute pincushion - and has some extra storage too.

- For the crocheters out there, how about THIS wonderful blanket pattern?

- Have a look through the galleries of THIS artist - some amazing work.  Be forewarned, a few of the images are a little sad.

- I know I've mentioned THIS before, but it bears repeating over and over.  This is a great way to do your small bit to help make the world a better place. 

Today's quote..."Forget the mistake, remember the lesson'