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 30, 2019

Completed quiet book!

I have finished the quiet book!  It took some thought to figure out how I was going to put it together but eventually I settled upon making a 'hinge' of sorts for the spine.  I cut 3 3/4" strips of fabric the length of the pages, folded them in half, and sewed them to the sides of pairs of pages.  Then I put two 'pairs' together, wrong sides together, and basted around the outside.  Then I cut my own double fold bias tape using fun fabrics to bind the pages.  I made the cover 'spine' a bit wider in order to accommodate the inside pages.  Then I used some of my 'fancy' stitches on my machine to topstitch the bias tape.   Added handles to the sides of the cover pages for easy carrying.  I ended up with three 'signatures' and the outside cover.  I marked the center of the spine for each pair of pages for a guide for sewing, along with marking three guidelines on the inside spine of the cover.  Pinned each signature in place along the guidelines and stitched in place.  Tah dah.....

And just a little reminder....if you'd like.... please join me 
in my efforts to downsize throughout January.
I'll be posting my results and would love it if
you would join in!

- HERE is another cute pattern (cross stitch this time) for Baby Yoda.

- Some of you might find THIS tutorial for a fabric kimono  fun and a good addition to your wardrobe.

- Here's a little tip you might find intriguing to do....on Jan. 1 and June 1 turn all your clothing hangers backwards on the rod.  After you wear an item, put it back as you would normally.  Once the season is over you can tell at a glance what you haven't worn and it's easier to get rid of your excess.

- And here is another fun thing you might like to do in 2020....get an empty jar and at the end of each week add a note with a good thing that happened.  On New Year's Eve 2021, open the jar and read about the great 2020 you had!

Today's quote..."My new year's resolution is to stop procrastinating.  I am not starting until next week though"

Friday, December 27, 2019

Three more pages

The quiet book is done but I'm a bit behind in posting pictures so here are the rest of the pages....

Above is the inside front cover - a snow globe
with sequins inside.
Below is the front cover.... a family 'tree'

Below is the back cover - they have a 
cat so I made this one using some
fake fur I had in my stash...

I will show the completed book in
my next blog post on Monday.

Many of you will remember my linking to a post on Becki's blog about her month-long 'Less Is More' challenge (go HERE to read her thoughts on the process - well worth a read!) and she has inspired me to do something for the month of January to reduce my 'stuff'.  So...I will be getting rid of (whether that will be recycling, donating or simply trashing) at least 5 items from here at Chez Magpie for each day throughout the month.  I will be posting pictures (gulp!) of what I'm getting rid of, but I will still maintain my normal posting schedule on Mon., Wed., and Fridays.  If you would like to join in, let me know and we can support each other!  

- For those who are in like with Baby Yoda, THIS is a link to a round up of crochet patterns and THIS has knitted ones.

- Have a look at the eye candy found HERE

- THESE would be a fun project for those who are interested in paper.

- And there's some more wonderful eye candy HERE.  

Today's quote...."Be so busy loving your life that you have no time for hate, regret or fear"

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas wishes!

Resident Chef and I would like to extend
our best wishes to you and those you hold most
dear for a blessed, happy, safe and wonderful
Christmas...and we would like to share one of
our very favourite songs.
Go HERE and enjoy!  

Friday, December 20, 2019

And.....another page.....and surprises

At this point I'm working on the outside and inside cover pages for the quiet book. This will appear on one of the inside covers....

and this is what's inside...

and these are inside the envelopes...

I used the mailbox pattern from HERE.    


Just look at what arrived from our family out west!!

How did they know I had planned to replace a number of our fading ugly plants with some new ones after Christmas?

There are at least eleven different succulents crammed in this beautiful pottery bowl!

Huge thanks to our wonderful family - love you guys!

- There are some different ideas HERE (I especially like the tree stand plant holders!)

- HERE is a really cute (and quick!) idea for decorating your Christmas table.

- And THIS little guy is bound to make somebody smile!

- THIS link takes you to lots of really cute amigurumi patterns.

- If someone in your life loves tea, perhaps making them one of THESE might be fun.

Today, instead of a quote, I came across this story and thought I'd share....

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid.
I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"
My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumour has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbours, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all us kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!
I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.
"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.
Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.
Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, dropped the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumours about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were -- ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.That store clerk was one of Santa's helpers,too!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

A return

Yesterday I returned to working on the quiet book I'm making for our expected baby and this page was the result....

The van has a zippered pocket that holds the transportation-related felt pieces.  At this point I think I can start putting it together so that I can know the size I will need to make the cover.  

I may have shared this poem with you previously but it's one I pull out every year and re-read simply to remind me that all is not sweetness and light this time of year.  Some of us struggle with the holiday season and all it entails.  This poem was published in the Woman's Day magazine dated 12/20/88 so it's an oldie!

Dear Lord,
'Tis the season to be merry and I'm not, really.
'Tis the season of goodwill, of general and particular
blessedness, of worship and praise and warmth of heart...
And I, like the Grinch, have spiders in my spirit, and
garlic in my soul.
And I come in confession and remorse, asking You for....
....for Christmas.
Is it the dither, Lord, that sets my day on edge?
Is it the too-muchness, the lavishness, the
extended list that gnaws at my extended self?  Hmmm.
I do believe I could trim a thing or two off that list.
Is it that I am trying to make a Production
out of Christmas when what I really want is a 
That I'm trying to guarantee, by my own efforts,
what can come only as gift, by Thine?
Is it the begrudging, Lord?  That I want to
do lovely things for my loved ones, 
only I resent the time spent 'doing' for the
one I am so irked at right now....or that
I want to do gracious helpful things for 
nebulous 'others' but I certainly want to know that
they will appreciate my efforts adequately!
Forgive my begrudging, Father, and my 
strings attached.
Forgive my production, and my dither,
and fill me with carols of hope, and
hymns of praise, 
and prayers of deep joy....
fill me with Christmas.

- If you have leftover fleece from making other projects, perhaps one of THESE ideas might help you use it up.  And there are more ideas HERE.

- And THESE would make great last-minute gifts too!

- Have a peek at the incredible eye candy HERE!!!

- THESE are really cute and can be made at the last minute (always a good thing!)

Today's quote is a short one..."Be naughty, save Santa the trip"

Monday, December 16, 2019

Another wee toy

Over the weekend I finished knitting a wee toy for our expected new grandbaby....

I make this toy for pretty much every new baby that comes along because it seems they all end up loving it.  Pattern is the 'Knubbelchen' and can be found HERE.  You can use pretty much any soft yarn to make these provided the needles are compatible with the yarn weight.  In this case I used DK weight and 2.5 mm needles.

- Have a look at THIS eye candy!!!  And there's more eye candy HERE!

- THIS is a different twist on the more traditional quiet book for little ones.

- If you're giving a gift card (or other small item) this year, perhaps putting it inside one of THESE would be nice?

- If you happen to be making drawstring bags for any occasion, I thought THIS little idea was rather clever.

- Apparently THESE are all the rage at the moment, so there's  a free tutorial there to make your own (quick make for Christmas too!)

- THIS is a great idea to do for someone (best to file it away to use next year though).

- THIS link takes you to a number of toiletry bag patterns that can be made in time for Christmas.

Today's 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"

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Landscape reveal

The latest landscape has reached the buyer so I am now able to show you....  


Below is the original photo ...

Photo credit: Laureen Catchpole-Heatley
and used with her very kind permission

- You probably have time before Christmas to knit a pair of THESE (scroll down to get the pattern).

- HERE are a few more creative ways to give a gift of cash.

- Dolores posted about THIS on her blog, and I couldn't resist sharing it as well.  I'd like to make this one!

- THESE would be really cute too.

Today's quote.."Everyone wants to be someone's sun to light up their life, but why not be someone's moon to brighten their darkest hours"

Monday, December 09, 2019

How about this little charmer?

The pattern is the 'Bed Time Gnome' by Knitting By Post and can be found HERE.

- THESE would make quick little Christmas gifts!

- And if you're searching for ideas for creating gift baskets, have a look HERE -there's lots to choose from!

- And HERE are some more cute crocheted snowflakes you might like to add to your tree or use as a parcel tag.

- There are some  ideas HERE for ways to gift cold hard cash in fun ways.

- There are some great ideas HERE for making picture frames (of course I like the Lego version!)

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

- HERE is a cute Christmas activity - suitable for both kids and adults.

- THIS would be a fairly simple item for your Christmas decor.  While you're there, check out the rest of the great ideas!

Today's quote..."The best kind of people are the ones that come into your life and make you see the sun where you once saw clouds;  the people that believe in you so much that you start to believe in you too;  the people that love you, simply for being you.  The once in a lifetime kind of people"

Friday, December 06, 2019

This proves it!

Yep, the fact that I waited all day to make my blog post so I could show you a picture of what I was working on is a moot point now, unless I want to un-wrap a just-wrapped gift that currently holds today's project!!  Argh.  Just more proof that I'm losin' it!

- If you, like me, are suffering from a surplus of 'stuff' in your life, you need (yes, you NEED!) to go and read THIS post from Becki.  She has recently completed the 30 Day Less Is More challenge and in this post she summarizes her thoughts on the process.  Inspiring reading!!

- THIS little fellow would look so cute on a Christmas tree.

- If you have room in your sewing room, how about a tree like THIS one???

Today's quote (and I promise it's not a repeat of the last one!)..."Life is kind of like a party.  You invite a lot of people, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up late.  But in the end, after the fun, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess. And most of the time they aren't even the ones who made the mess.  These people are your real friends.  They are the ones who matter most"

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

A little something

The astute among you will have realized that I'm losing it (if you've read to the end of this post and realized that I repeated the exact same quote as I gave you last time!!).  Yep,  not only can I not remember WHY I've entered a room, but I can't remember quotes either!!!  Sheesh.

Over the past couple of days I've been making this pillow to go along with the Super Mario quilt and bed pillowcase I already made.  It will be a themed Christmas for our littlest grandson it seems!

I used a coloring page I found online for the pattern and then appliqued the pieces in place.  

- I particularly like the red sweater pattern in THIS assortment of free ones.

- There's a fun 'Countdown to Christmas' quilting pattern series happening HERE (thank you Jeanne for the head's up on this one!).

- A set of THESE would make a nice gift!  As would THESE!

- Have a look through the galleries of THIS amazing artist!  (it takes a second to load so be patient, and be sure you hover over each of the pictures because the artist tells you what materials she used).

- AND, go and have a look through THESE!!!!  Prepare for cuteness overload!

Today I have the final (at least for now!) in the little series I've been sharing..."As I get older I realize getting lucky means walking into a room and remembering why I'm there"

Monday, December 02, 2019

A little bit of stash reduction

Over the past couple of weeks my knitting needles have been busy creating these two cowls made from mohair I had in my stash for far too long.  All that knitting though - and I only decreased the stash by one single solitary ball!!!!

The patterns are pretty generic  - the beige one is simply 5 rows knit and 5 rows purl, rinse and repeat.  The ivory version was a little more complicated and was a pattern from one of my stitch books.  Unfortunately the design is pretty much lost in the fuzziness of the yarn so if I do more I'll probably stick to the beige version.

- HERE is another fabulous idea to use buttons!  I wouldn't use real greenery though - it would be better with artificial so it could be used more than once.

- Karen Ruane has announced her latest online course called 'The Little Book of Sewing' and, as always, it sounds very intriguing.  Go HERE for further information!

- There is a new free knitting pattern available HERE every day this month.

- Pattern HERE for a really cute Christmas stocking!

And another in the little series of quotes I've been sharing..."As I get older I realize that getting lucky means walking into a room and remembering why I'm there"