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, September 18, 2020

One done

Yesterday I finished the first advent calendar.  It's hard to see all the embellishments I added from these photos...

Here's a closeup of part of it....


- I found a scroll through THESE was interesting.  So many different variations!

- THESE would be fun to make for your fall decor.

- Have a look at the amazing creations of THIS artist!

- Not too sure what to think about THESE but they're interesting.

Today the quote is from Twyla Tharp...."Art is the only way to run away without leaving home"

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

 Having to get up at dark thirty in the morning to go grocery shopping means I get to watch the sunrise.  Sort of.  This is what our sky looked like and it's obvious that the fires out west are affecting our skies here as well.  Very eerie looking!

Although this doesn't look all that exciting, here's what I've been working on....

This will be for our #3 grandson.  Right now I'm stitching the embellishments which are really difficult to see in this photo.  Lots of beads and some little Christmas charms will make it a little more interesting.  I hope!

- THESE would make really nice Christmas gifts!  And so would THIS version.

- Have a look at the amazing embroideries of THIS artist.

- THESE are really cute!  Perfect for little 'just because' gifts I think.

Today's quote "Your life is your garden.  Your thoughts are the seeds.  If your life isn't awesome, you've been watering the weeds"

Monday, September 14, 2020

A little stash enhancement

 I let my fingers do the walking and ordered some fabric to add to my stash.  And I just got done making all those tote bags to use stash UP and here I go buying more!!  What can I say?  

In this pile there's the makings for two Christmas advent calendars earmarked for our two youngest grandsons.  The bear fabric will turn into a Christmas stocking for the youngest little. The remainder is just stash enhancement - probably will be used in landscapes at some point.  

- There's some amazing fabric art HERE!

- Have a look at the incredible work done by THIS artist too!  Be sure to click on her pet portraits as well.

- Some things just make you say awwwww - and THIS is one of them.

Today the quote is from Joyce Meyer..."Don't wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to enjoy your life"

Friday, September 11, 2020

A revelation - of sorts

 I've been working with those pieces of fabrics that I put together and so far they've turned into these...

They're all different sizes, depending on the amount of fabric pieces I had.  There are three more in the works and then I can call that project done, dusted, and downsized.  All are headed for the Christmas box.  Served the purpose of getting rid of those fabrics from my stash so that's a good thing.

- Have a peek at the fun art by THIS creator!

- THESE would make nice gifts - or useful for storage for yourself too!

- HERE is another thing that might be a great storage solution - and great for gift giving too.

- I'm afraid I don't know who made THIS and I would give credit if I could!  It's a pretty cool idea.

Today's quote..."FEAR has two meanings.  Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise.  The choice is yours"

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Sometimes it's just a dud

 Dud-ship is running rampant here at Chez Magpie.  First of all, the Resident Chef harvested his entire potato crop from our balcony.....

Yep, that's it.  Sum total!  He won't be repeating that particular experiment.  

And...sometimes my needles just don't create something that's worth doing.  Case in point...

Our youngest grandson was born in the Year of the Rat so Grandma decided he needed a rat to play with.  Methinks this is more scary than anything so he won't be getting it in his Christmas gifts.  The quest continues for a 'cute' rat pattern.  Is there such a thing? a side note that fits the 'dud' theme that's happening...I don't advise you purchase any Red Heart Super Value yarn.  That stuff is vile!!  It's stiff as a board.  Don't know why they've changed their manufacturing process but it appears they have.  So much for the plan to make mittens out of it.  How I miss being able to go to the yarn shop and actually feel the selections!!  

- There are a number of links HERE to make all sorts of fall leaves for your projects.

- THIS is something some of you might like to try doing.  Would make great gifts too!

- If you're a Halloween fan, perhaps you might find THIS of interest.

- HERE's a sweet little idea that would make nice gifts.  

Today's quote is from Pablo Picasso..."The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away"

Monday, September 07, 2020

Stirring the cauldron

 Resident Chef and I spent the better part of two days working on what you see here...

He spent most of Friday prepping all the vegetables and then I took over on Saturday and processed them all.  The end result was 12 jars of Red Cabbage and Beet Relish;  12 jars of Zucchini Relish, and 11 jars of Cranberry Apple Mustard.  Phew!  And then I wondered why my back was sore!  

- For the sane quilters out there....if you want to make a lot of Half Square Triangles perhaps THIS tutorial to make 8 at a time might be helpful (scroll down for the instructions).

- I normally shy away from sending you to see a paid pattern because I don't want this blog to become commercialized.  However, THIS caught my eye and I thought some of you would find it interesting.  Anything that's no-sew and uses up scraps is a good thing!

- There's a good tutorial HERE for making piping.

- THIS link takes you to a PDF for a really cute Halloween design.

Today's quote..."The 'pop' of a canning jar lid is a joyful noise!"

Friday, September 04, 2020

 The pile, it grows!  

This is the last of them (hooray, sez you!).  Now I plan to add some machine stitching to all the seams and then I'll be ready to do something else with them.  They're all different sizes at this point but come roughly close in measurements.

And, as part of my ongoing quest to fill the Christmas box, this is the first of what will be several pairs of men's mittens.  Unfortunately I came to a screeching halt when I came to the realization that even if a yarn is labelled as being a '4' in weight it doesn't necessarily follow that it actually is the same across different brands.  Argh.  So, I await delivery of some stash in the 'right' weight and the yarn I was hoping to use is set aside for something else down the line.  

Pattern is 'Mittens For All' by Red Heart and may be found HERE.

- Oh wow!  I love blown glass so of course the work by THIS artist caught my eye!  Have a look through her portfolio.

- And the portfolio of THIS artist too!!  Oh, and there's THIS one too!

- THESE Halloween costumes are beyond incredible.  Simply can't imagine the time some of these must have taken!

- If you like to snoop   peek through great sewing spaces, have a look at the example on THIS blog.

- THIS is a pretty fall-themed cross stitch design.

Today's quote is from Maya Angelou..."My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style"

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

For lack of something else

 Here's four more of the who-knows-what-they-will-become-stash-reduction-exercise.....

Three more drawers of fabric to wade through before I'm done.  Today has been one of those days where I did far too many errands and then ended up going out again and driving over twenty miles in order to get some canning lids/jars.  There are none to be had in this town (or at least anywhere I tried) and an online search yielded a precious few in a little town north of here.  Needless to say all these pit stops means not much done in the sewing room!

- If you like chocolate and you KNOW you shouldn't be eating it, perhaps making one (or more) of THESE might be fun....or torture, depending on how you look at it!

- If you're a fan of Mickey/Minnie Mouse, perhaps making THESE would be fun for your decor.  If nothing else they made me smile!

- THIS is a cute quilt for the dinosaur lover in your family.

- And you might want to pay a return visit to THAT web site and check out the sheer volume of freebies they have available!

- If you belong to a quilt guild that won't be meeting this year, perhaps they might find THIS virtual platform of teachers to be of interest.

Today's quote..."A smart person knows what to say.  A wise person knows whether or not to say it"

Monday, August 31, 2020

and....I digress.....again.....

I digress.....
or did I see a squirrel????

Who knows, but it seems I've gone off on a tangent.  I am woman and can change my mind.  Right?

At any rate, some of my  fabric scraps have been turned into these pieces that in turn will be turned into something else.  I know what I plan that 'something else' to be, but who knows, perhaps another squirrel might cross my path.  In the's the results of emptying a couple drawers of scraps all over the floor and picking out pieces that would suit what I have in mind.  All I can say for the moment is that the Christmas box looks shockingly empty and these will help to fill it.  And yes, I'll share once this has morphed into something useful.  

- I think THIS is an interesting take on adult coloring.  Be sure to scroll down!

- There are a number of interesting tutorials HERE.  

- Have a look at the art by THIS artist!

- And THIS artist too.

- If you are like me and struggle with getting mitred corners to look great, have a look at this detailed tutorial HERE.  I'm going to try this!  While you're there have a peek at the rest of her tutorials....lots to see!

Today's quote is from Bob Marley..."Some people feel the rain, others just get wet"

Friday, August 28, 2020

Another beginning and a little tutorial

 I've made several of these that will be added to the Christmas box and thought maybe some of you might like making them as well.  So....a mini tutorial....

Easy Peasy Dish Scrubbers
1 ball of Red Heart Scrubby Yarn
5.5 mm knitting needles, either circular or straights
Cast on 22 stitches and knit every row until scrubbie is square. Loosely cast off.  One ball of the Scrubby yarn will make four.  These wear like iron and do a great job on your dishes, pots and pans.  

And...another landscape begins.  This is the photo I'm using for inspiration...

Original photo by Robert St. Clair
and used with his kind permission

The raw beginning!

- If you're like a lot of people you sometimes forget to take your mask with you when you go into a store so perhaps making yourself one of THESE might be a great solution.

- Most of you know I love denim so it's no wonder that THIS caught my eye!  

- Further on the denim theme, THIS is a fun purse tutorial.

- One of my blogging friends posted a great way to make Half Square Triangles on her blog and I thought some of you might find it useful so have a look at her post HERE (scroll down for the HST's info).  

It seems like Blog-grrr is doing a new 'thing' and has
changed the way links are done.  Hopefully it will
be okay on your end but don't be surprised if you
have to do a two-step process to get to the links.
Hopefully it's just a hiccup and they'll fix it soon!

Today's quote..."Better an oops than a what if"

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

We've survived - barely....and a recipe

You know how sometimes you think something is a good idea at the time?  Well, Resident Chef and I can attest that those sorts of things aren't always the wisest course of action.  We have been searching for a good cleaner for the tile and grout in our bathroom - imagine probably 50 years of the same tile and it's rather gross in places despite our best efforts to clean it.  Well....I happened to be in a professional cleaning supply store and noticed that they had a product labelled for just that purpose.  Score!! was a score UNTIL I sprayed the stuff onto the tile this morning....and darned near choked to death.  That stuff is vile!!!!!   Poor Resident Chef was in nearly the same state all the way out in the living room - and that was just from a small amount of spray.  Imagine what would have happened had I carried on and done the whole tile surface.  The label directions said to leave the product on the surface for a 'few moments' before rinsing it off - well, it was on there for a whole lot more than a 'few moments' because there was no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks I was setting foot in that bathroom until I could breathe.  And....after all that....the tile looks the same.  Our lungs have been exercised though, so I guess there's that.

I know many of you are dealing with an over-abundance of zucchini right now so I thought I'd share one of our favourite recipes.


2 eggs, beaten
2 c. cottage cheese
1 pkg. spinach, cooked & drained well
1 lb. mozzarella cheese
1 lb. hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
1 - 8oz. can of tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. each salt, oregano & thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper
Cut zucchini into thin lengthwise slices and place in plastic bag.  Sprinkle with 2 tsp. salt and leave for approx. 2-3 hours.  Drain and rinse thoroughly.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Don't overlook this step because otherwise the lasagna will be over-liquid.  
Saute hamburger & onion.  Add tomato sauce, salt & pepper, oregano & thyme and simmer 5 minutes.  Combine eggs, cottage cheese, well-drained spinach and half the mozzarella cheese.  Layer in 9x13" pan.... 1/2 meat mixture; 1/2 zucchini slices; all of the spinach mixture; 1/2 zucchini slices; 1/2 meat mixture; and remaining mozzarella.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes then uncover and bake for a further 45 minutes.  Allow to stand at least 10 minutes before cutting.  

 - THESE are touted as being Christmas birds, but they can be for anytime of the year I think!

- Lots of great fabric art to be seen in the galleries HERE.

- There are some fun cowl patterns HERE that would be great to knit for fall/winter.  The same site has some great basic tutorials for knitting with lots of great tips.  Go HERE to see those.

- Lots of star quilt patterns HERE!

Today's quote..."Strong women don't have attitudes, they have standards"

Monday, August 24, 2020

Additions for Christmas box

 Over the weekend I finished making the jewelry holders I wanted to add to the Christmas box (which, I might add, is woefully lacking in items!).  Now the search is on to find a nice necklace or bracelet to include and that will make five completed gifts.  

The pattern, in case you missed it, is in my previous post.

- if you scroll down once you go HERE you will find a number of links to different designs to make your own raised garden beds.  Might be a tad late for this year, at least in this hemisphere,  but I guess you could get an early start for the next!

- THIS is one of those things that are semi-genius.

- Have a look through the galleries of THIS artist!

- If you're interested in sashiko, perhaps some of the ideas found HERE might be fun to see.

- I don't know about you but I've struggled with the 'relatives 2x removed (etc)' question and found it hard to figure out.  Perhaps THIS chart will help!

And finally here's the quote for today....

Friday, August 21, 2020

Jewelry Roll Tutorial

 Here's the tutorial for the jewelry holder if you'd like to make one (or several!) for yourself or to use as gifts.  If you do make one, please let me know if any of the directions are not clear.  



-         Fabric for outer cover and inner lining,  9”x18”

-         Fabric for interior pockets – assorted sizes

-         9” (minimum) zipper

-         Lightweight iron-on interfacing

-         Quilt batting,  9”x18”

-         2 medium or large dome fasteners

-         Plastic canvas, 1”x7”

-         2 buttons, optional

-         Ribbon, for ties - approx. 50"

-         Bias tape (purchased, or make your own)


-         1 piece each 9x18” of the outer cover, inner lining and quilt bat

-         1 piece 9x7” interior fabric (for lower pocket)

-         1 piece 9x8” interior fabric (for middle pocket)

-         2 pieces 8 ½” x 7”  interior fabric (for pocket flaps)

-         1 piece 9x8” interior fabric (for lower zippered pocket)

-         1 piece 9x9” interior fabric (for upper zippered pocket)

-         2 pieces 1” x 24” exterior fabric (for ties)

-         BIAS TAPE – long enough to go around entire outside edge of holder – you may used purchased tape or make your own by cutting strips of fabric 1 ½” wide by the length required


ASSEMBLY (NOTE: ¼” seam allowances unless otherwise noted)


1.     Fold 9x7” interior lower pocket fabric wrong sides together so measures 9 x 3 ½”.  Press fold.  Cut piece of iron on interfacing 9x3 ½” and apply to one half.  Topstitch along folded edge leaving remaining three sides open.  Lightly mark pocket stitching lines 3” inside each edge to create 3 pockets.


             MIDDLE POCKET

1.     Fold 9x8” piece of interior middle pocket fabric in half  right sides together to measure 9x4”.  Apply interfacing cut 9x4” to one half.  Stitch long edge, leaving sides open.  Turn and press.  Topstitch folded edge.  Lightly mark pocket stitching line 4 ½” from edge.


(make 2).  Fold 8 ½ x 7” piece of interior fabric right sides together  so measures 8 ½ x 3 ½”.  Apply 8 ½”x3 ½”  interfacing to one half.  Round the outer two corners and stitch, leaving an opening for turning.  Turn & press.  Topstitch all but folded edge. 


1.    Fold 9x8” piece of interior lower zip pocket fabric right sides together.  Press fold. Apply 9”x4” interfacing to one half.  Stitch long edge, turn and press.

2.    Fold 9x9” piece of interior upper zip pocket fabric wrong sides together.  Press fold and apply  9 x 4 ½”interfacing to one half. 

3.    Apply zipper to the folded edges of each pocket piece by topstitching.  Trim extra zipper length as needed (careful – don’t use your good scissors!)


1.    Cut plastic canvas 1x7” making sure edges are as smooth as possible. 

2.    Cut 2 pieces of interior fabric 3 1/2"x2”.  Fold in one long edge ½ “ and press.  Fold right sides together and stitch raw edges with ½” seam allowance.  Clip corners.  Turn & press.

3.    Insert ends of plastic canvas and stitch in place.

4.    Center button on fabric end and stitch in place.  Add dome fastener to back.  Repeat for other fabric end.


1.     Sandwich exterior fabric WRONG side up, batting, and lining fabric RIGHT side up.

2.    Align lower pocket and pin in place

3.    Align middle pocket with lower edge 2 ½” above the top edge of the lower pocket and using coordinating thread topstitch in place along lower edge.

4.    Using coordinating thread stitch pocket lines through all layers.

5.    Align pocket flap ¾” above lower pocket and stitch along top edge. Repeat with other flap  and stitch above the middle pocket.

6.    Center earring holder between lower pocket flap and the middle pocket and apply remaining half of the dome fasteners.

7.    Align stitched edge of zipper pocket approximately ¾” above middle pocket flap and stitch along bottom edge. 

8.    Trim off any excess fabric and batting along top edge.  Measure and mark 1 ½” from top corners in both directions.  Join marks and trim (or you may round edges if you prefer). 

9.    Cut two pieces of ribbon for ties – one 28” long and the other 20” long. Center ties with ties lying towards the body of the holder

along top edge and baste in place. 

   10.Apply bias tape to outside edge by machine, fold over raw edge, and hand stitch in place.  NOTE: If making your own bias tape, cut fabric 1 ½” wide and 2” longer than outside measurement of the holder.  Fold one edge in 3/8” and press.  Stitch around outside of holder, fold over and hand stitch to finish.  


- Some of you might find THIS of interest.  These days, when we are somewhat reluctant to carry a purse and end up setting it down somewhere to collect possibly germs, maybe having something like this would be a perfect solution.  Imagine a matching bag and face mask?  Haute Couture Covid-style!

- As I was poking around on the above site, I came across THIS great idea for kids (my grandkids might just get some of these!)

- There's an interesting article HERE about turned edge applique - anything that makes it easier is good!

- Have a peek through the galleries of THIS artist.

Today's quote..."Don't think outside the box, think of what you can do WITH the box"

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A holder for jewels?

 I've been spending more hours than I care to admit monkeying round with creating a pattern/tutorial for making this jewelry holder.....

It's hard to see in the photo below but there are three pocket sections, one zippered and the other two covered with flaps.  There's a removable earring holder as well.  

This one will be gifted at Christmas to the same friend who will be receiving the brush roll holder for her birthday next month.  If I manage to get the pattern written clearly enough I will post it here for anyone who also might like to make them.  I plan to include a piece of costume jewelry with these.  

- I imagine there will be a bunch of THESE designs popping up but this is the first I've come across.  I think, if I were doing it, I wouldn't be putting a used mask into it for risk of contamination of the clean ones, but otherwise the design idea is a good one.  I would be tempted to put a bottle of hand sanitizer in the extra pocket.

- You might enjoy a browse through the galleries of THIS artist.

- Those of you who enjoy playing with paint and paper might find THIS of interest.

- And HERE is another artist whose work you might enjoy seeing.

- THIS is a super thread/colour tool that might be invaluable!

Today's quote..."If you find something that makes you giggle, smile or it or marry it!"

Monday, August 17, 2020

How about a recipe for a change?

 Over the weekend Resident Chef made freezer pickles because we had an abundance of cucumbers appear on our doorstep.  They're really good and easy to make so thought perhaps you might like the recipe in case you'd like to make some too.  

Not a great photo, but you get the idea.  The Resident Chef will sometimes drain a container of these and grind up the veggies to make relish.  


10 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 large green or red pepper, chopped
3 Tablespoons salt
2 c. white sugar
1 c. white vinegar
1 Tablespoon celery seed

Combine cucumbers, onions, green pepper and 2 tablespoons salt.  Cover with crushed ice and mix well. Refrigerate 8 hours.  Drain, rinse and drain again.
In a large saucepan combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed and remaining salt.  Bring to a boil and cook and stir for 1 minute.  Spoon over vegetables.  Pour into jars, leaving 1/2" head space.  Cool.  Top with lids and freeze.  

- THIS intrigues me.  Not enough to want to try making it, but it IS interesting!

- Have a look through the galleries of THIS artist.

- As further proof that you never quite know what you might find when you visit here, I'm posting THIS as a public service announcement.  I did not know that wasp stings could turn into cellulitis and it's something to be very aware of.  Cellulitis is nothing to be trifled with!

Today's quote is from C.S. Lewis..."There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind"

Friday, August 14, 2020

The chaos of creativity? Or just a downright mess?

It seems I've gotten myself into a bit of chaos in my sewing studio.  In one corner we have this....

and in another corner there's this...


and then there's this....

and then there's this.....

But in the kitchen, Resident Chef is calmly creating good edibles with these...

Puff balls and swiss chard,
gifts from good friends!

- Karen Ruane has a new online  class entitled ' Lace Cloth, Fragments, Wall Art, Overlays and Art Pieces' that is just beginning and you can find out more by going HERE.  

- Have a look through the various galleries of work done by THIS  artist.

- And the galleries of THIS one as well.

- I thought THESE were interesting (and while you're there, check out her other galleries)

- Little ones (and a whole lot of grownups!) would like THIS.

- Wish I had room for one of THESE.  

And, instead of a quote today....

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Something a little different

 Remember that new fabric stash enhancement from a week or so ago?  Part of the plan for some of it was to make this for a birthday gift...

My friend made the mistake of mentioning that
her makeup brush holder was looking shabby so 
that gave me the incentive.

It's a bit hard to tell in this photo but there's a flap that covers up the brushes and helps to hold them in place...theoretically anyway!  The inside is lined with that waxed fabric I bought.  First time I've used it so we'll see how well it wears.  Hopefully it will be somewhat wipeable should the need arise.  The pattern is 'Roll-Up Organizer' by Tim Holtz for Coats and can be found HERE.

And this mess is me trying to come up with a prototype design for a new project.  Certainly gives me a great appreciation for pattern designers because it's definitely a challenge!

Stay tuned to see if it ends up being a success or another of those things destined for the 'file' beneath my desk!

- THIS is one of those things that's wow-worthy!

- Have a look through the gallery of THIS artist.

- If you're interested in making a temperature blanket (or if you don't know what they are!), there's a great article with lots of tips HERE.  I've often thought of making one and then I remember that I would have to buy yarn AND that I have the attention span of a gnat so it wouldn't be such a great plan.  

- Because fall is just around the corner (at least here in this part of the world) maybe you'd like to make one of THESE.  

THIS is rather pretty too.  

Today the quote is for those of you who garden and is from Ralph Waldo Emerson..."What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have never been discovered"

Monday, August 10, 2020

A finish!

Here is a finish of a different sort!  You're used to seeing my landscapes but how about the finished crazy quilt for a change?  As you can see from the photo it just covers the foot of our bed which is rather necessary because our bed is up on  risers to allow for storage underneath.  That means that pretty much all purchased bedspreads don't end up being long enough and leads to the need for something a little extra.


For some reason Blog-grrr is pitching a hissy fit and refusing to allow me to align photos in the middle.  Oh well.  

This new quilt (twin-sized) will be part of our winter ensemble on our bed.  

Here's a closeup of one of the blocks so you can see the machine stitching....

The fabric I used around the blocks is actually meant for curtains and is something I found at a thrift store at one time.  I have LOTS of it so it was nice to use some of it on this project.

And....look what arrived in my sewing room doorway over the weekend?  Sourdough sticky buns!

- There's a number of stained glass quilt designs available HERE.

- A local group is spearheading an amazing project to honour those who lost their lives to the virus.  You can find out more by going HERE.  

- And do go and have a peek through the free crochet designs found HERE.  And while you're at it, check out his blog as well!

Today's quote from Abraham Lincoln..."In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years"