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, March 30, 2020

Block 2

I made a start at the next block for my crazy quilt over the weekend.  I'm still not sure about the colours I'm using for the embroidery but I'm looking on this project as a learning curve.  Hopefully I will learn to use colour schemes that are not my norm and that I might just grow to like them. 

Below are the colours I pulled from my stash
using the Color Tool as my guide...

Resident Chef has started his garden and has a few tomato seedlings bravely trying to grow in the window sill.  At this point who knows if we'll be able to track down enough potting soil to put them out on the balcony, but here they are for now...

And...because I talk about my beloved Resident Chef so much, perhaps you'd like to see him...

This is a really difficult puzzle so it will
keep him occupied for awhile!

- HERE is one of those simple and great things you can either make with your kids, or for yourself.  I can 'see' one of these done by the kids and mounted on their bedroom door or on their wall.

- If you have some scrubby type yarn in your stash, perhaps making a few of THESE might be a good project.

- THIS is a cute little pattern - perfect for stash busting.

- And further ideas for stash busting can be found HERE

- For the quilters, there's a new stitch-a-long starting HERE

And, instead of a quote today....

Stay safe, stay well.

Friday, March 27, 2020

The yellow block is done (I think).  The colour scheme isn't one I would normally use but it's an interesting challenge to make myself think outside the box.

and closeups...

The next one I will work on is green and I must say the colours the Color Tool is suggesting are NOT what I would ever put together with it.  I'm going to go with it though and see if I can get past my pre-conceived notion of what's right.  Stay tuned!

Last time I promised I would tell you about a couple of the other 'tools' I am using for this particular project.  I have two different sets of templates that I can use to mark stitch placement on my seams.  One is from Sharon Boggon (look HERE) and the other set is made by 'Creative Impressions' (look HERE) and were created to accompany Kathy Seaman Shaw's book 'Stunning Stitches For Crazy Quilts'.  The templates don't need to be used along with the book however.  I use them as they are but also combine them in various ways to come up with my own designs.  It's hard to get a decent picture of the templates...

'Creative Impressions' set on the left, Sharon Boggon's on the right

- Some of you might find THIS community stitching challenge of interest right now.

- I came across THIS recipe and thought some of you might find it of interest.  Resident Chef plans to give it a try.

- If you're a quilter, perhaps THIS quilt-a-long mystery might be something you'd like to play with.  The link takes you to the first clue.

- Bluprint is offering free online classes for pretty much everything they have for at least two weeks.  You can check that out HERE.

- Some of you might like to take part in THIS project.  Thanks Lyn for sharing this.  

Today your quote is from Pema Chodron..."Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know"
Stay safe - stay well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


I have been working on doing some prep for a new large-ish crazy quilt project I have planned to do for awhile. The bedspread we have on our bed doesn't reach the floor because we have the bed up on blocks in order to have storage beneath and we use a quilt/throw to hide the clutter  well organized area beneath.  I pieced the blocks awhile ago and now is the time to start working on them.  Here is the selection as they look right now...

My original plan was to set them on point but that is quite possibly going to change as I go along and quite probably will mean I will need to create more blocks. The original plan was also to embroider them quite simply with only one or two colours of thread (probably black and white).  Now that we are staying home, I have changed that plan and have now opted to use a triadic colour scheme for each.  In theory, my original idea was to do a sort-of colour study anyway, so going triadic is a further extension of that.  Changing my colours somewhat is primarily because I know I will get thoroughly bored with only working in one colour for the embroidery.  Because this is going on our bed I don't plan to add any heavier embellishments (buttons,etc) which goes against my magpie nature!

Some of you may wonder how I am choosing my triadic colours and I have to admit I'm not smart enough to figure that out on my own but instead rely on a wonderful thing called the 'Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool'  (updated 3rd edition) by Joen Wolfrom.  
Picture from and found HERE.
I use this color tool a LOT and highly recommend it (no affiliation with the publisher OR Amazon)'s available through other sources as well - just Google and you will find them if you're interested).

I decided to work on the yellow block first  simply because it's one of my least favourite colours.  From my stash of embroidery floss I pulled this selection of colours, using the suggestions from my Color Tool.  

Here you can see my block mounted on my frame and one of the seams underway.  The frame is one I made from PVC pipe from instructions found HERE.  

Next time I will tell you about a couple of further tools I am using to help with my embroidery process on these blocks.  

Resident Chef is a man of multi-talents; he not only cooks, he cleans, he vacuums, he does laundry.  And no, before you think I have the perfect slave, I DO help with the cleaning!!  Self isolation means no access to a hairdresser, so he changed hats and had a go at mine.  I figure nobody's going to see me for quite awhile so what could possibly happen that wouldn't grow back in short order (I was just careful not to sneeze!).  I think, if the word gets out, he might just be able to make some money at this!  Here's proof positive....
That's the pile of hair he removed

And as you can see I don't look any scarier than
I normally do!

I think I'll keep him.

- There's a really great tutorial HERE for making fabric medical masks.  This comes with a note however - not all medical professions are accepting them so if you plan to make any it's wise to check with them first.

- Those of you who sew might be interested in reading THIS post and checking out her links to patterns.

- THIS Pinterest board has some beautiful embroidery to brighten your day. (takes a second to load - be sure to scroll down).

- I'm sure all of you have been waiting and hoping that I would come up with how to stiffen felt.  You're welcome.  (Go HERE).

Today's quote..."The first to apologize is the bravest, the first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest"

Monday, March 23, 2020

A finish

Over the weekend I finished the church

This one measures approx. 33 x 25"

- THIS might be some good information for quilters.  And if you want to learn how to free motion quilt, check out THIS video.  And for some great free motion designs, check into THIS site.  (Thank you to JUDY for these links).

- If you have a few minutes, perhaps you would like to watch THIS video - amazing art!!

- I mentioned THIS the other day but it's worth another note.  Look for the link to 'Embroidering Our Way Through The Madness' in her upper topic bar.  She will be uploading a new video each week - and I can tell you, from having taken some of her classes, you will enjoy them.

- If you have preschoolers in your life and are searching for some ideas for things to keep them occupied, perhaps THIS site might give you some ideas.  Looks like, if you check out the links across the top bar on the site, that there are ideas for older kids too.

- Also for kids, there are lots of authors reading their books for kids HERE.    And HERE's another great thing you could make for a kid in your life (maybe even for alzheimer's patients too!).

- HERE is another wonderful resource for artists that's free at the moment.

- THIS is something that crocheters might like to consider doing - great for stash busting and working with lovely colours and soft yarn.

Today's quote..."Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. "Be still" they say.  "Watch and listen.  You are the result of the love of thousands"
Be safe - Be well.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Ready for borders

I think this landscape is ready for borders and finishing now...

- For those who might be having difficulty finding bread at the moment, have a peek at the blog post HERE and check out the link to the bread recipe.  We're planning to make some (by we, I mean Resident Chef!).

Question for you use washaway stabilizer?  If so, what brand works well?  I have some 'Unique' and it will not dissolve no matter what I do.  Obviously not what you want after you've spent several hours creating something and then can't get the stabilizer out!!  Over to you....opinions please....

- For those who are knitters, Arne and Carlos are running a knitalong that we can take part in during these trying times.  You can find more information HERE.

- Further on the knitting area, have a look at some of the ideas HERE of things we can work on at home - as well as links to some free patterns that are on offer right now.

- Right now we need to take a more light-hearted look at things so perhaps some of you might find THIS to be a fun project.

If stitching is something that appeals to you in order to get through the trying times, perhaps you might like to check out THESE videos that Karen Ruane has posted.  A little oasis of stitch!

- Just a thought for you - try googling live web cams for birds and I'm sure you can have some fun watching them nesting.  You can start by going HERE.  

Today's quote...."Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not obsess.  Just breathe and have faith that all will work out for the best"

Stay safe, stay well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A tale of woe (or how to increase blood pressure)

A Rant -
of epic proportions

First of all,  thank you to my incredible and very smart son who was kind enough to let you all know I was in over my head.  He deserves a medal!

OK - here goes - (please feel free to just move on by this blog - my feelings won't be hurt).....

1.  Our tv is old.  It's creaky, like all us ol' folks get.  She had issues with her picture sometimes but bravely soldiered on....until yesterday afternoon when she threw a hissy fit and went to the tv pasture in the sky.  Well then.  

We're told we're supposed to stay home...but....with no tv and no means to get the latest updates and news?  And a husband who loves his tv?  Sigh.  Into the car...and cough up the bucks for a new 'Smart' tv.   Which, said the salesman, was 'simple' to set up and implied that any moron could do it.  (hmmm....obviously he doesn't know me......)

2.  Carted home, unpacked and undertook to set it up, only to come to a screeching halt when it asked me for my 'wireless connection password'.  Sure.  I can do that.  If only I knew what it was.  I keyed in Every.....Single.....Password I have ever used (and a whole lot I haven't) and nothing worked.  So....phoned the cable provider who very kindly told me (after going through a series of tests) that I would need to call the 'router' company, and gave me the proper phone number to call.  

3.  Called....and was put on hold and forced to listen to their advertising blurb for their wonderful incredible amazing offerings....over and over....for over an hour.  FINALLY, a real live guy appeared and proceeded to have me unplugging, replugging, poking, proding, waiting....rinsing and repeating....the router (picture your Magpie up and down off the floor because said router so happens to be on a shelf beneath my computer desk...I'm too darned old for this!!).  After nearly an hour of this he managed somehow to kick me off the internet (at which point I pushed the panic button, called my son on the cell phone... and had him post the message to you).  Upon being told that the internet had gone poof - the guy had me doing more poking and plugging and finally the phone call got dropped.

4.  Insert a string of swear words that would curl your hair....and probably that of most of your neighbours too.

5.  Called back....on hold (listening to the same blurb and, I might add, not believing a word of it this time!!).  In the meantime Resident Chef was on the cell phone talking to our son who proceeded to tell me to try a couple of of which, wonder of wonders, was how to actually...get this....CHANGE my password!!  Which was ALL I wanted to do in the first place and didn't involve ANY crawling about on the floor, plugging and unplugging.  At this point I hung up on the idiots from the router company and went with my son's advice.  

6.  At least two hours on the phone with him and he walked me through getting a new password (which, I might add has been written down and is in a safe place) and the rest of the tv set up, including figuring out how to get our Netflix working....all from nearly four thousand miles away.  I tell you, this guy should be working in tech support - he's brilliant!

7.  Well after midnight I fell into bed with my internet back and a tv sort of working.  One more phone call this morning to the cable provider to get the final picture quality issue fixed and we're up and running.  

8.  I did not even THINK about the fact that said 'Smart' tv has the ability to let me run internet through it....I don't want to know.  I can only imagine the furor THAT might cause!

There, that's my tale of woe in a nutshell...
now my achy body has to recover from
all the exercise it got getting up and
down off the floor and crawling round 
behind furniture
we have to learn which buttons to
push on the remote (now two of them!)

Extreme thanks (and huge hugs)
to our long-suffering son,
who deserves all the accolades he
can get.

The end.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

MIA for the foreseeable future

Hi there!

MA/Magpie/whatever you would like to call her (Believe me, I have referred to her as many other things than that!) will be offline for a few days. She got a new TV and now cant get her internet working. (This is her son btw... yes, the smart one).

I am sure she will make a post the second that her internet is back!

Stay tuned!

Monday, March 16, 2020

A bunch of nothing (or maybe something?)

A short discourse..
on the virus concerns...
this blog is, and will remain (hopefully)
a place to come where it won't be discussed.
It's there....
we're concerned...
life goes on.
Wash your hands.
'Nuff said.

Updated to add this....we all need to maintain our sense of humour these days and when I came across this I laughed out loud and thought you might find it amusing as well...

Unfortunately I can't give credit to the artist - if anyone knows,
please leave a comment

- THIS is really cute and she gives a nice tutorial to make something similar.

- Have a peek at the work done by THIS artist.  Definitely caught my eye!

- Resident Chef has been working on jigsaw puzzles lately and I came across THESE ideas for using pieces of puzzles that might be short a piece or two.

Resident Chef celebrating completion of the
Christmas gift from #1 grandson

- THIS is a great project that some of you might want to do for your garden decor this year.

- Sometimes I stumble across something that I find really intriguing and THIS is one of those things.  Be sure to click through to see all the great ideas!

Well, as you have probably gathered, there hasn't been much happening here in the creative line.  I have worked on the landscape but it would look the same if I were to share a photo at this point.  

Today's quote..."The most wonderful places to be in this world are in someone's thoughts, someone's prayers, and in someone's heart"

Friday, March 13, 2020

A tree!

I'm working on the tree at the moment....

- Some of you might find THIS article interesting - re the pros and cons of using acrylic yarn.

- The creations of THIS artist are fun.

- THIS looks like a fun project.

- HERE is a really pretty crochet pattern - could easily be expanded to make a throw I think.

Your quote of the day..."Don't be afraid to start over.  This time you're not starting from scratch, you're starting from experience"

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Minuscule Amount?

I don't know if you can see any change here but there actually has been....

- I suppose I'm sadly lacking in my education but I seriously had no clue what on earth THIS was.  Having said that, it IS rather cute and would be a conversation piece even if you didn't know what it was.  I would love to make one and tuck it in among my houseplants.

- I doubt I would ever make any of THESE but aren't they pretty?

- HERE's another great use for recycled jeans!

Today's quote..."Be nice to crafters.  We have enough creativity to make your death look like an accident and due to a lifetime of hot glue gun burns, we leave no fingerprints"

Monday, March 09, 2020

A teeny bit of progress

Over the weekend I got a little more done at the latest landscape.  Flirting with the time period in creating these that I feel the only thing I should do is chuck it because it looks butt ugly.  So far I've managed to work through that period in a landscape creation and it's been okay but I do second guess myself a lot.

- THIS is a handy little rig that some of you might find quite useful.

- There's a nice tutorial HERE for making hexxies for quilts.

- And how about crocheted hexxies as found HERE.  

Your quote for today..."How cool is it that the same God who created mountains and oceans and galaxies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too?"

Friday, March 06, 2020

And so it begins (again!)

The beginning of another landscape....

For some reason the spire looks crooked, but
in real life it isn't.  

- One of the things about shawls I find annoying is that they don't stay in place...THIS one might just be the exception!

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

- Never let it be said that when you come here to Chez Magpie there isn't an eclectic mix of reading material for your viewing pleasure.  Don't blame me for THIS one (I have grandsons, what can I say).

And the quote of the day...."This is a story about four people named EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY and NOBODY.  There was an important job to be done and EVERYBODY was sure that SOMEBODY would do it.  ANYBODY could have done it, but NOBODY did it.  SOMEBODY got angry about that, because it was EVERYBODY's job.  EVERYBODY thought ANYBODY could do it, but NOBODY realized that EVERYBODY wouldn't do it.  It ended up that EVERYBODY blamed SOMEBODY when NOBODY did what ANYBODY could have done"

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Wasted days (and wasted nights?)

Oops -
don't blame me if you now have
the Freddy Fender song playing
in your brain!
(brilliant idea on my part 
because now I'M stuck with it!!)

At any rate, the entire reason I went off on this particular tangent is that yesterday was quite simply one of THOSE days where I got nothing done except for doing errands.  The only saving grace out of it all was that we got our income tax done and we're getting a tidy little sum back.  Pays to turn one of 'those' numbers on my last birthday and get bumped up into the old farts league of deductions.  Woo hoo! pictures of any progress to show you on any front.  Had a project in mind and scuttled it in favour of being practical.  I had thought of turning one of my orphan crazy quilt blocks into a neck roll for our bed.  Brilliant plan, until I remembered that I don't like making the bed in the first place so why would I want to add another pillow to the mix that I would just have to deal with twice a day.  OK - put that idea on the back burner and turn my thoughts to contemplation of how I will create this.....

This is a free domain photo I found on the internet - at least from all the research I've been able to do it appears it is.  I don't normally use images from the internet for fear of them NOT being free domain but I love this wonderful old church so much that I decided to chance it.  Stay tuned!

- HERE is another fun idea for recycling denim.

- THIS would be a wonderful project to use up yarn scraps!

- I like THIS - would serve many uses I think.

- THESE look like toasty warm mittens that would be fun to knit.

Instead of a quote, I thought I'd share this with you instead....

Monday, March 02, 2020

And now - for a little change of pace...

How about a doll?

She will be going to live with
my friends granddaughter.
Pattern could I suppose be called my own 
because it's been cobbled together from several
commercial patterns until I came up with
what I wanted.  

- Have a peek at the work created by THIS artist!  And the work by THIS one too!

- There's a very interesting article HERE about handling and preserving vintage textiles.

- THIS is a rather nice crochet pattern that would be perfect for using up scrap yarns.

Today's quote is from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee..."Knitting is a boon for those of us who are easily bored.  I take my knitting everywhere to take the edge off of moments that would otherwise drive me stark raving mad"